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September 30, 2009

Lasting changes, and how to make them…

for a follow up on yesterdays post, I thought to write about changes again, as its the time of the year to think about what we want to achieve before the Xmas presents come out. So often one of my athletes, or someone I hardly know (they tend to find me lately), will ask me how to make changes in their lives that stick, as they seem to wander off track so often.

Now that you have the Cheatsheet, how do we go about practical examples?

Part of living in a one stop, instant satisfaction society is that we expect everything NOW. Our perception of patience, is as such, a little warped. We expect that if we make a change today, it should last forever, but in reality, we need to reinforce these changes every day.

For me there are a few key factors that I need to make effort on, on a daily basis, for at least a few weeks, when I want to make a change in my life. Here are some constructive real world examples:

1. A while ago I wanted to lose 7kg in 7 weeks. I had to talk to myself every time I wanted something sugary, or something full of wheat, which meant that at least 10 times a day for the first 4 weeks, I had to make the hard decision to NOT go for the short term satisfaction. The result; people tell me I am too skinny now, which means I am right on track. For the record, I am still under my Ironman race weight and nowhere near MTB race weight.

2. I wanted to make the change to becoming a better cyclist (point 1 is a part of this), as it was, and still is, the weak link in my triathlon armor. So I undertook a 3 year plan. Yes, not a 12 week fix, but a 3 year plan. This is year 2 at the moment, and the big changes came in year one. Now, to get to where I want to with cycling, I have reinforced training and committed to challenges (like Cape Epic) that will give me a boost in year 2, and hopefully, in year 3, I will have that breakthrough performance. My aim was to make my cycling up by 14%, but to get there, I would have to spend 3 years working at it, so that my run could stay the same.

Yes, I could probably go and ride what I want to now, but I would walk half the marathon in an Ironman afterward, which is not the way to make the lasting change. Once I am at this new level, it will be almost impossible to go back, because I have done it in the right way. Here I am talking about a realistic plan. Set out a long term plan and constantly benchmark is along the way, as you might need to back up, or slow down a little, to meet the plan’s goals and objectives.

3. I wanted to find more time in my life. I had to take a very real outlook at the long term application of how I was going about my daily days. I found that I spent loads of time doing things which were not of any productive value. I set out my day into 30min slots and found SO many of them to be useless. So I started cutting out 30min slots, until I had a few more hours a day. When it still wasn’t enough, I took the change to start my own business, so that I could have more productive time. I cut out alot of “mental junk food” and now, I have time, every single day, to sit and think. I also have around 30min to sit and do nothing, think about nothing, and in essence, reboot my mind. But I had to slow my life down to get there. Going slowly, is the first step to going really fast.

Hope that all makes just a smidgen of sense to you today. Its merely a follow up on that amazing post yesterday.

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