So I opened up my mouth earlier this year and let it be known that I intended to paddle 28.5 miles across Monterey Bay on a prone paddleboard. I knew that the instant the words left my lips that I had to follow through with it. Fortunately, some close friends liked the idea so much that they decided to join me in training for it. It would have been ten times harder to do by myself.
So here we are, six months gone by, countless miles paddled in all sorts of conditions, and about 100 days remaining until we attempt the crossing. To be honest, there are moments when I just don’t want to keep going. Stiffness, aches and pains that wouldn’t be there if I just kept my mouth shut. Dark, early mornings when I would rather stay in bed next to my wife than get up and jump in the 54-degree water for several hours. Moments when I would rather surf with friends than go out and accumulate more miles. Spending free moments in the gym correcting imbalances and counteracting the effects of such repetitive action on my neck and shoulders.
Fortunately enough all they are are moments. Moments pass and so too do the thoughts that try and defeat us. That tells us we can’t do something. That nobody is going to care if we just stop. That it is okay if we just stay in bed this one morning instead of going out to paddle. If I listened to that inner voice of defeatism, it would be followed by regret and the question, “What if?” The secret is to let those thoughts roll on by, to not hold on to them. To keep doing what you are doing. They are sure to return, but if we keep letting them roll on by we develop a pattern of success.
This pattern is contagious to other aspects of our life. Think of the people who you view as successful. They could be men and women in sports, business, family life or finance. Do they give up when faced with adversity or do they find a way to keep going forward? How often do you think that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, or Warren Buffett listened to that negative inner voice?
Yet how many people do you know who succumb to these negative, defeating thoughts and struggle with countless attempts to achieve what they want? These are people who make the same common mistakes:
- They attempt to do it by themselves.
- They lose focus on the goal.
- They do not break down the road to success in smaller, achievable steps.
- They place themselves low on the priority list.
- They believe everything they think.
No matter what your goal is, you can achieve it if you avoid these pitfalls. Have a support group and use it to it’s fullest. Keep your eyes on the prize. Break down each step into smaller steps and if they seem too big then break them down even more. Re-prioritize yourself and place that person at the top of the list. If you don’t, everything will find a way to sneak up past you. Finally, don’t believe everything you think. Ask a friend for advice and share your thoughts with a confidante.
Jack LaLanne was once asked if he ever got tired of getting up every morning to exercise. His answer was, to paraphrase, “Hell yes! But I know if I don’t the consequences are severe.”