If you know anything about me, you know I’m a huge fan of motivation. Whether it be motivational videos, quotes, or people – I’m always looking for that thing to keep me going. However, recently I’ve been thinking more about motivation and its role in my life. I’ve come to the realization that motivation is not enough in and of itself. There is another step that must be taken past the motivational video. That step is self control.
Self control can be defined as restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires (Merriam-Webster). It has been closely linked to success, higher self-esteem, and better interpersonal skills. From my own experiences, I know I have self control with certain things but lack it with regards to others. I’d venture to say most people are like that to some degree or another.
Today at the gym (yes, I went to the gym two days after the marathon), two people said something to me that made me truly believe in my abilities as a runner. One of my gym friends asked me (in all honesty) did I win the marathon. When I told him no, not by a long shot, he said well you’re a winner to me. I think he truly believed I had that potential. Another one of my gym friends asked what my time was this weekend. When I told him his response was that’s good, but I think you can do sub 3 hours. And that comes from a former professional soccer player who runs daily. Although both of these people are somewhere way out in left field with their thoughts, it made me believe even more in my ability as a runner. I may be motivated to be better, but I need to get a grip on my self control. If the big picture is to discover my best runner, I need to make sacrifices.
There are a lot of tips out there on how to improve self control. A few that really stick with me are analyze the areas where you lack self control, become aware of where you are failing, act on these realizations, incorporate self denial into your life, put yourself in uncomfortable situations to test your willpower, and of course – meditate. As a runner, I can name several areas where I am failing – not taking easy days, not enough strength training, running too fast, giving in to sweet potato chips and sweets, being too lazy to keep a running journal, and the list goes on. Tonight I think I’ll make a list of the areas where I lack self control with regards to running and other areas of life as well. I have this big picture in my head and I need to do whatever I need to do in order to get there.
Here’s to a little more self control…
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
And this photo is for your entertainment. I am notorious for making priceless face expressions. I thought when I saw the camera on Sunday, I did a good job of smiling. Oh, how wrong I was…