I spent the weekend in London with a good friend, who also happens to be a writer. To me, she is a writer in the truest sense, because she shows up, time and again, whether she feels like it or not. Such discipline is the very thing that I have struggled with for years. That’s why I admire it so much when I see it. I still don’t have it, maybe never will. But I won’t stop trying to achieve it, because I know from those around me that it can be achieved, in spite of life’s voracious attempts to get in the way. And if they can achieve it then so, in theory, can I.
Just now I saw another friend – also a writer – mention a 100 day writing challenge that she has agreed to take part in: “No word targets – just a promise to turn up every day for 100 days however I feel and whatever happens.” I am drawn to this, and so, without further thought or over-analysis, I will commit to it. I don’t know what I will write, but it will be something, and it will be every day. Some of it I will post on this blog, some of it I may not. I will surrender myself to the universe and see what happens. Because, why not?
Every story starts somewhere. So, once again, let’s begin…
Yesterday I was berating myself for falling off the exercise wagon by neglecting to complete my weekly half marathon training with a planned nine mile run. My guilt was compounded by the fact Friday night had gone from ‘one quiet drink’ to a jagermeister-fuelled 4am finish, which meant the traditional post-booze self-loathing kicked in at about the same time as the lack of exercise self-loathing i.e. a double whammy of shame.
Fortunately, however, I managed to redress the balance of yin and yang by completing the missed nine mile (well, eight point nine nine miles, to be precise) run this afternoon – which is bordering on a miracle considering that I’d spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon and evening drinking punch at a tropical themed birthday party.
A few kilometres in I had serious doubts about completing the full distance, but then I remembered a conversation I was having with someone at the party yesterday. We were discussing sporting challenges and how mental strength is as important if not more so than physical strength when it comes to both training for and completing a race. If you don’t believe you can do it then in all likelihood you won’t – not because you can’t, but rather because in failing to believe you can do it you are, whether consciously or unconsciously, making the decision to fail. As I ran today and remembered the conversation I felt physically as well as mentally lighter, and the remainder of my run, despite my initial lethargy, was actually enjoyable.
Of course, the concept of believing you can do anything you set your mind to should not be limited to sporting challenges. It’s something each and every one of us should try to incorporate into our daily lives. Positive mental attitude isn’t just a state of mind, it’s a state of being, and if you can achieve it then you really can achieve anything.
This was me metres from the finish line after the Blenheim sprint distance triathlon in 2010. You could say positive mental attitude is written all over my face – or maybe just relief it’s nearly over!