I was running three to four times per week to get in shape. I did not have a particular race that I was training for, but when I began training I did not even time myself. I had measured out a few courses and knew approximately how far I was running but I just went out and ran. As I felt myself getting into better shape I began timing myself.
On my iPod you can hit a button as you are running and it will tell you the total time elapsed plus your current minutes per mile pace. I started getting frustrated because some days, or during some parts of my run, I would be off the pace of where I thought I should be. Sometimes I would be ahead of the pace I had previously run but I felt like I should be even farther ahead.
I often hear about the 1% growth model, which says that you want to make small improvements each day and it is really hard to make more than a 1% increase each day.
But TIME is only one measure of improvement.
Maybe my 1% improvement was going farther than I had run before.
Maybe my 1% improvement was running when I really didn’t feel like running.
Maybe my 1% improvement was picking up my pace over the last ¾ of a mile rather than just the last ½ of a mile.
Maybe my 1% improvement was improving my running form.
Maybe my 1% improvement was running a route that had a more challenging terrain.
And then I made a discovery…my iPod was not calibrated correctly so the feedback I was getting was not accurate!
So not only was I only focused on one area of improvement (time) but I was also focused on a model that was not giving correct feedback.
I want to challenge you to look at what you are measuring and who is setting the expectations for your improvement.
Is it possible that you are improving even when you don’t FEEL like you are getting better? You absolutely need to challenge yourself but when we are only focused on one area of improvement or comparing ourselves to others, it is more likely that we will get frustrated and want to give up.
If you are training for excellence (to be the best you can be) in any task you are involved with, then you need to use your internal compass to gauge whether you gave your best effort and made improvements. And then you need to do it again...and again...and again...and again…
The problem with hinging everything on your internal motivation is that you don’t have a way to escape. Many people want to compare themselves to others or expect others to motivate them because then, when it doesn’t go their way or they don’t want to put in the work, they can blame it on someone or something else rather than taking personal responsibility.
Having internal motivation is simple, but it’s not easy. Making 1% improvement is simple, but it’s not easy.
Do you want to be unstoppable?
Get rid of external markers of achievement. Have an internal motivation and love what you are doing. Use your internal compass to make some type of 1% improvement each day.
And no one can stop you, but YOU!
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