Tuesday
Apr272010

Go on, do it!

The alarm goes off but it doesn’t really matter because my eyes haven’t closed all night. My mind has been filled with doubt and it feels like it has been played through a broken tape player that repeats over and over again. I think to myself ‘surely this can’t be good for me’.  

I slowly creep out of the hard hotel bed and head to the kitchen for the meal I had been planning accurately for months in advance. Mum and dad are there eating their tomato’s on toast. Mum looks at me and knows that this morning isn’t the day to be her normal chirpy self. ‘How did you sleep?’ my Dad asks,  ‘I got there’ my distant answer sets the mood and they both pretend to be reading whatever is in front of them.  

After eating I go back to my room and pack for the my day. Questions keep coming up in my head as I check over my list; ‘what if I fail?’, ‘What will I tell people if it all goes wrong’, ‘What if I crumble like I did last time?’. I consciously try to snap out of this and tell myself ‘you can do it’ but this is a battle that is hard to defeat. After packing, my feet slowly walk to the bathroom and I look at the large square mirror. The long hard look ends with a big deep breath, ‘this is it’ I think to myself.    

I do all the preparation that has been carefully planned to create success and now I head to the place where everything will be revealed. I’m trying to fool them by putting on a strong posture that seems so unnatural. I set myself to start, my body is shaking, my mouth dries up but then all of a sudden a switch turns on and I’m ready. This is my test, this is my time! The starter gun goes off and the race begins.  

Nerves are a funny thing. They are such a hard thing to experience but at the same time they are a great indicator that you are challenging yourself to grow as a person. When was the last time you were nervous? If it was a long time ago maybe it’s time for you to create something that makes you feel this way. Don’t be afraid, embrace them, they are good for you.  

Thursday
Apr012010

My small bad decisions

Something has changed about me lately, it’s based around my busy traveling habits. Because I like to eat healthy, which can be tough at airports, and I hate paying the inflated airport prices for food I use to always pack as much food as possible for the trips. This has always worked well for me. But around this time a year ago I forgot to pack my food. When I was hungry at the airport I decided to have Burger King. I have to admit that I did enjoy this meal, so much so that on the return flight home I decided to have it again.  

I have to let you know that I never buy fast foods when I’m in Christchurch. Macdonalds, KFC and Burger King have made no profit from my stomach. But for some reason over the last year I’ve created this rule in my head that states “when I’m at an airport traveling, I’m allowed to have fast food”. I’ve justified to myself that because I’m going through the stress of traveling I’m allowed to eat these types of foods. I woke up to behavior on a trip that I did last week. I discovered that I had created this unhealthy rule and by giving myself justification around it and it became a habit. Rule states: When I’m at an airport I can eat as much fast food as I want!  

The point of this piece isn’t to pick on fast foods, I choose not to eat them myself but I think they are fine in moderation. The point is - have you created some little unhealthy rules for yourself? Are there times when you justify unhealthy habits just because it is habit? Something like: every time you go to the movies you have to have a large popcorn and coke, because that’s “what you do” at the movies.  

Have a look at your life and try to identify the times when you have little unhealthy rules and see if you can replace them with a healthier option. When you identify these times ask yourself one of these questions; Can I make the portion size smaller? can I choose a healthier but still enjoyable option? or can I go without this? These questions will help to start winning on the smaller decisions that make big change.  

I know I’m going back to packing food for when I’m traveling, it’s just better for me.

Thursday
Feb182010

The thing the best wasn't willing to do

A while  ago I went on a bike ride with one of the best triathletes of all time. I love any opportunity to talk to someone who has been the best in their field. On our ride,  I became a Paul Homes type “interviewer” and started firing away a million questions about anything I could think of, I asked him about his hardest race, his toughest competitor and so on. After a while he must have got sick of my questions as he  started asking me about my life. I mentioned that I played guitar to which he responded, ‘I wish I could play the guitar, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do’. I suggested that he should buy one and get some lessons but he wasn’t so keen ‘I’m too old to pick that up now’.  

For some people, the older they get the less willing they are to learn new skills. It’s like they get a set of skills in the early years of their life and these skills will determine their path for the rest of it. The triathlete I was talking to was in his mid forties and he thought he was too old to start a new skill, a skill that he admitted he would love to do. Sure, there would be a period during the first couple years of practice where he wouldn’t be that great but after a few years he would find that he’d be able to start playing with others and creating his own music. At this stage he’d be closer to 50 and still have many years of playing music in front of him.  

So why do some of us reject learning new skills as we get older? Maybe it’s because we don’t want to be bad at something or maybe it’s because life is safe when we do what we know we are good at. To be honest I don’t have the definitive answer to this question but I do know that if we add new skills to our life in areas that we are interested in we have a richer life experience.  

When thinking about exercise don’t always look to what you have done in the past. A new sport that requires you to learn new skills could be the catalyst you need to recharge your love for exercise. Who knows where this new path could take you?