5 Ways to Develop a Marathon Mindset
A few years ago, my mindset caused me to feel very stressed out and overwhelmed. I saw other people moving forwards in their lives, making positive changes with ease and seemingly enjoying a successful existence in all aspects of their lives. During this time I was in a place where I was very confused with my life, working all the time, staying out late with friends, working out maybe only once or twice a week and not taking care of my diet – it’s funny because at the time I thought I was being pretty healthy!
When I looked at the people around me, the people’s who’s lives I’d love to have, I realized they all had one thing in common. These people all took care of their health and made it a habit, a part of their daily routine. I knew that if I wanted to lead a life like theirs, that I needed to change my daily habits and change my perception on the notion of “health”.
I found myself starting to follow motivating profiles on social media accounts, reading health and fitness blogs and listening to podcasts. I tried to immerse myself as much as possible in positively, influential environments, so I also signed up to a CrossFit gym where I knew I would be surrounded by a great community and like-minded people.
I was changing my ways because I was tired of watching everyone else move forward in life. Because I knew that I could either allow the course of my life to be effected by others, or I could take charge and change the direction of my life for myself. Living a healthy lifestyle and feeling my best, became my focus. At times, I wanted desperately to feel the effects of the changes I was implementing and see the results immediately. But everything I was exposing myself to was causing a subtle shift in my mindset too. Every time I felt demotivated or frustrated with the slow process I would remind myself of this quote:
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu
I had learnt that endurance athletes often use mantras to help through tough times during a race, times when their mind starts to wander and think about quitting. Living by the beach and in a sunny climate where I can enjoy the outdoors all year long, I feel a very strong connection with nature and my surroundings. I am in awe of its beauty, it’s constancy and yet its ability to continually adapt. So this mantra resonated with me on a deeper level and has always brought me a sense of peace and ease.
This mantra helped remind me that all the change I desired wasn’t going to happen over-night. My muscle tone and definition wasn’t going to suddenly improve and my body wasn’t going to transform into the shape I wanted it to in the space of a month. The pace of our world is so frantic and seems to be constantly increasing but despite this, I supported myself in the belief that the change of my lifestyle and habits, was not going to be a race. It was going to be life-long journey.
There is no quick fix for results and I realized that the most important way to become less stressed about it was to change my mindset. You can’t shift your weight from the outside without connecting with your inner resolve and intention. Your perspective is what will allow your eating habits to be flexible and therefore, sustainable.
Aside from shaping my environment and connecting with my innermost intentions, here are some of the things that have worked for me in finding patience with this journey, and developing what I call, a Marathon Mindset.
Characteristics of a Marathon Mindset
Being determined means making things happen. People who are determined know what they want and know how to get it. You sit down and quietly reflect on your goals, then you figure out the ways in which you’re going to reach them. The daily habits that will be the necessary actions to lead you to your desires.
You make or cause things to happen in your life that improve the quality of your life. Sit down and spend some time figuring out your why, to keep yourself on this journey.
Tracking can be adaptable. Flexible eating can be adaptable. Your perspective can be adaptable. All of these things are possible. You might not be able to control life events, but what you can control is how you see them and how you respond to them. All you need to do is allow yourself space and time. Think about it, why is it so easy for us to resolve our friend’s and families’ dilemmas but not our own? Because we have distance from the problem. Because we have objectivity we are able to see things from an angle that the person involved is not. Try implementing a 10-minute rule before rushing to “respond” to a feeling. We encourage this approach with many of our clients who struggle with emotional eating.
Similarly, when you have your day planned out with food but then your kid throws up at school and now you find yourself taking them out for ice cream and wanting one yourself. Be adaptable, be flexible! Enjoy some ice cream with your kid. Just track it first and make any adjustments you need to your day. Being excessively restrictive can often lead to feeling deprived and potentially cause or lead to episodes of binge eating.
When it comes to progress what matters the most is how consistent you can be over time, rather than how perfect you can be for just a week or two. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race, but who cares!? When did self-improvement become a race?! If you keep working on yourself every day and going at a pace that allows you to have fun along the way then you’re a winner in my books! I’d rather enjoy the journey than arrive at my “destination” miserable and stressed out. That gratifying sense of accomplishment is so short-lived when the path to get there hasn’t been fully experienced. The bottom line is this: If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it. So do what allows you to be consistent day-in and day-out.
When I joined NNCF, I realized just how important community really is. You might be a real people person or perhaps you prefer your own space. Either way, the world is one huge partnership of human beings. We are all connected and we all feed off each other’s energy. We should feel supported by those around us and not in constant competition with them. There’s enough happiness in the world to go round for everyone.
I’ll never meet most of the people who somehow are connected to my life, but knowing that every single thing I do I am able to do because of someone else is pretty awe-inspiring. In so far as you can, see people as teammates rather than competitors or adversaries. I realized this was so important for my own sense of well-being and appreciating that all of us have different journeys. Just because I might take a little longer to get there, it doesn’t mean I’m going the wrong way or being left behind. This perspective has really helped me to stop comparing myself to others and feel happy for them in their achievements and progress in life.
When life isn’t going your way it can be tempting to pull the covers over your head and decide that it’s best just to stay in bed. We’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives. When I feel this way I remind myself of the lotus flower. It grows deep in muddy waters far away from sunlight, but it persists and grows regardless, eventually reaching the light and transforming into a beautiful flower. When things are “muddy” or you feel stuck, remember that we are divine beings with a seed of potential inside us. We have the power to change our view and overcome obstacles if we choose to search for the positive. Never be afraid to ask others for help when you feel this way. Being resilient does not mean that you have to face something alone.
When I reflect on what’s needed to be the best and healthiest version of myself, my biggest realization is this; you will never change your life until you change something you do daily. Eat good quality foods in the right proportions and approach it with a marathon mindset. If you do this, you will experience a transformation that goes beyond the physical. You will transform your whole perspective on life and truly start to live as the best version of yourself.