“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Spanish Proverb
“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.” – Martin Luther
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
I believe all humans continually seek self-improvement. We have goals we want to achieve and new heights we want to aim for. Once a goal is achieved, we tick it off the list to be replaced by a new one. This aspect of human nature is never truer than it is for athletes. We always want to go faster, always want to place higher, always want to feel stronger. But with this desire from improvement also comes a need for change. And accompanying change is often fear and procrastination.
You are perhaps experiencing these jumble of emotions as you prepare for the Gold Coast Marathon. You have chosen and entered your race, you have set your goal and planned your training accordingly. Now you just have to start! But it’s amazing how many excuses you can come up with to delay your training.
Procrastinating when it comes to chasing our dreams (whether they are running related or not) is something everyone can be guilty of. Whether it’s going for that promotion, changing your training routine or aiming for a new race, the fear of failure and change can often mean we keep putting it off. So here are a few timeless tips that helped me take the scary dive into the unknown, and I hope they help you do the same!
1. Stop thinking. Start doing
“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.” – Eva Young
A bit of planning can certainly help you to achieve what you want to achieve. A lot of planning and thinking tends to have the opposite effect. You think and think and try to come up with “the perfect plan”. A plan where you don’t have to make mistakes, where you will never be rejected, where there will be no pain or difficulties. Such a thing does of course not exist. Just do it.
2. Don’t blow a task out of proportion
“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” – Olin Miller
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.” – George Claude Lorimer
By over thinking and putting things off you are not only trying to protect yourself from pain. You also make mountains out of molehills. The more hours and days you put something off, the bigger and more unachievable it grows in your mind.
3. Just take the first step
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
When you start to look too far into the future any task or project can seem close to impossible. So, you shut down because you become overwhelmed. That is one of the reasons why it is good to plan for the future but then to shift your focus back to today. Be in the present moment and simply take the first step.
4. Start with the hardest task of your day
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” – Dale Carnegie
If you start your day this way you will feel relieved. You feel relaxed and good about yourself. And the rest of the day – and your to-do list – tends to feel a lot lighter and easier to move through. It’s amazing what difference this one action makes.
5. Face your fear
“Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy.” – Denis Waitley
I think this is true. It’s easier to live on that “someday…” thought. It’s harder to just take action. To risk looking like a fool. To make mistakes, stumble and not avoid that pain. To take responsibility for your own life. The easier choice can come with a sense of comfort, with a certain level of success, pangs of regret for all the things you never dared to do and a vague sense of being unfulfilled. You wonder about what would have happened if you had taken more action and more chances. The harder choice gives you, well, who knows? But it will sure make your feel more alive.
If these pitfalls of procrastination are sounding familiar, don’t be alarmed – they are common and beatable. Take on board the five tips above and no doubt your Gold Coast Marathon experience will be all the more enjoyable and successful!