Last week, I celebrated a personal victory.
I ran 7K.
Now, I know how this will sound to someone who runs marathons. Piece of cake!
But to me—someone who used to smoke for 15 years, who disliked any type of serious physical activity and thought the gym was a foreign land—to me, 7K meant the world.
You see, I quit smoking 6 years ago and have been running at the gym ever since. But I’ve never passed the 5K mark before.
And because I told myself that I will only run up to 5K, I often could barely do this too. It felt like a pure torture watching the distance calculator slowly creeping up.
Then, a month ago, I decided that I want to try and run a 10K marathon—to see if I still “got it”—the ability to challenge myself and follow through.
What happened next, I can only describe as quite the magical experience. The next time at the gym, I flew through the 5K and was able to do 5.5K. My excitement was much greater than my tiredness, so I felt pumped that I surpassed my expectations.
Last week, I was planning to run the 6K I do now, but when I reached the mark, I decided to keep going and see if I can survive to make it to 7K. To my amazement, I not only made it, but the aftermath feeling was incredible.
It gave me a tremendous boost of self-pride, confidence and happiness.
How could this be? Just a month ago, I could barely make it to 5K, often falling behind on this goal, and now I was—rather effortlessly—so much closer to my 10K goal.
And then I knew why.
When I told myself that I can and will only do 5K, I put a ceiling on my potential. I built some self-boundaries and convinced myself that I can’t break them.
In my mind, I only saw myself as a 5K recreational runner, not as someone who can do more. And my body followed what my mind envisioned that I was.
I recently wrote about why we need to push ourselves and aim high in everything we do. And if you get to think about it—it makes sense.
Setting for yourself too achievable or goals that you don’t periodically update means doing yourself the biggest disservice. It’s self-limiting. It’s like telling yourself you are only capable of this much and everything beyond it is somehow out of reach. It’s a Never-land.
It doesn’t have to be.
Bob Proctor, the famous author and motivational coach, often writes and talks about the conscious and sub-conscious mind. The Conscious mind, he asserts, is where our thinking, reasoning and decision-making happens. The Sub-conscious mind, though, is where our self-image is formed.
Every thought we accept as a belief or the affirmations we tell ourselves, become ingrained in our sub-consciousness and influence our subsequent actions, thoughts and outcomes.
So, changing how we see yourself makes all the difference.
Your mind is everything.
It determines how high you choose to aim, the person you are and are becoming, your motivation levels, your perseverance.
Our successes and failures (although idiosyncratic terms) are in a direct cause-effect relationship of what we think about ourselves.
Had I not decided to try and run a 10K, I would still have been stuck in my 5K loop. And probably continue to feel rather comfortable and content when I reach this goal few times a week.
It just takes a small shift to produce exponentially increasing positive results.
See yourself as a manager at work and you will soon start acting as one. See yourself as a successful entrepreneur and you will change your behaviour to match these thoughts. See yourself as a non-smoker and you will gradually start hating cigarettes. And so on. You see how it works.
It’s not easy, though—don’t fool yourself. You still must put in the work. Only dreaming about running 10K is not enough. It’s the start—the mental shift that will facilitate the Doing.
But I still must sweat it and actually run the distance. No way around it.
That’s ok. What matters is that my body and mind now work on the same frequency and are helping me move in the direction that I want.
It is as Bob Proctor tells us in the book “The Secret”: “Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.”
Dreams are made and crushed in the mind. By us.
- This piece was originally published in LustForLife.