Jan 21 – Finding some motivation in trying times!

Hello, happy New Year, and welcome to my first blog.
This first one is an introduction and a scene setter, but in future instalments I plan to provide you with the following:
• Updates on what I’m up to each month and how the training/racing is going
• Insights into the world of Triathlon
• Parallels to draw out between Triathlon and our world of Change
• Providing some hints and tips on exercise and well being

Time for a reality check!
Let’s do a little reality check in this first blog. How’s everyone feeling at the moment? I suspect many of us are feeling generally fed up at this point. This introductory blog was first written just before Christmas when all was looking so much more positive. That version has since been screwed up and binned. Back then training was going well, and we all assumed 2021 was going to be a much better year.

As a family we celebrated New Year and the underlying sentiment was one of ‘good riddance 2020, bring on 2021’. Sadly, within a few hours we suffered the loss of my father-in-law, and a few days later we entered another lockdown and a return to home-schooling. Life in January is a lot more complicated and stressful than it was in December, and my triathlon plans and aspirations for 2021 are very much on hold as we work through the family challenges and latest twists and turns of the pandemic.

From a training perspective it would be all too easy to take my foot off the gas when there’s so much uncertainty. It can be hard to stick to the plan and remain focused. I’m sure that many of us are lacking motivation or enthusiasm across a range of activities. Whether its training for a sport, practicing a hobby, or planning your much needed 2021 holiday; I’m sure much has been put on hold.

This last weekend was tough, very tough
I usually do my longer training sessions at the weekend, but with so much going on at home, and all of the doom and gloom in the news, it was proving difficult to find both the time and motivation. I spent some time stewing things over, but a conversation with my coach, Ali, really helped. Many of his ‘athletes’ are facing similar challenges and it was good to talk things over. He made the point that there will be races in 2021, and whilst we might not be able to say where or when they will be, there will be opportunities to put all the training to the
test. We talked about how we can only manage the things within our control, and therefore we would do just that.

Re-energised and re-focused I went out for my long run, and it was great. I came back feeling so much better for it, as I always do, and satisfied that it was another step (well, about 20,000 steps) towards my longer-term goals.

Feeling great post-run, I started looking at my Spotify playlists. One of them is my ‘Race Playlist’, and as the name suggests, its primarily for listening to just before a race to get me fired up and in the best frame of mind. A few edits later I took a listen and my mood improved even further. It’s amazing what a difference the right music can make. 2021 may not have got off to the best of starts, but it wasn’t going to get in the way of me giving it my all.

This got me thinking. What’s on your playlists? What songs motivate you or fire you up? I’d love to hear your suggestions.How about we create the ‘Group Change Playlist’?

Parallels to the world of change
Even in the carefully planned and coordinated world of change we face periods of uncertainty. It could be an issue that brings activity to a halt, or a lack of clarity that prevents a deliverable from being completed. Navigating through such moments is something that we must do, whilst maintaining motivation.

Just like the example of my training, it’s good to take a step back and remind ourselves of the bigger goal we’re aiming for and how that activity today will be beneficial in the long run. And if you can’t do everything that you’d planned to do at that moment, are there other things that you can be doing that will bring benefit in the future, whether that’s the work goals, your own development, or a bit of both. We should remind ourselves to focus and manage the things within our control, trying hard not to fret or worry about matters that are beyond us.

Hints and tips on being more active
In each blog I’ll share some of my thoughts and ideas on getting, and staying, active. The first suggestion is very straightforward – try and keep your own plans and ambitions simple.

When starting out try to avoid setting goals that are too challenging, too restrictive or are too far off in the future. How many News Year’s resolutions have failed because they are too challenging?! Just start with a simple, achievable, short term goal and go from there.
For example, someone may have set themselves the target of doing 10,000 steps a day, every day, for the rest of the year. How long will it be before that day arrives when it’s just not possible to do your 10,000 steps, and how will they feel when they don’t make the target?
Instead, you could set yourself the simple target of doing 70,000 steps in the next week. It’s short term, it’s more realistic and it provides some flexibility. Once you’ve achieved that, which you’re more likely to do, then you’ll be more inclined to set yourself a new and do-able target.

When I think to my own targets, I didn’t set out to make it to the World Triathlon Championships. Eight years ago I set myself the challenge of riding my bike more to lose some weight. That led to another target, which led to another and so on.

A sample from my Spotify playlist

  • Titanium – David Guetta
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
  • Don’t stop me now – Queen
  • Hall of Fame – The Script
  • Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
  • Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
  • Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
  • Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  • Sirius – The Alan Parsons Project

Do you have any suggestions to add to my Playlist?

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