I suspect many of you have had the experience of trying to explain to people at the office why you do what you do: why you watch what you eat, why you get up at 6am to train, why you’d rather go to the gym on a Friday night than go to the pub.
And the usual reaction from others is, ‘oh life’s too short to count calories/give up alcohol/not go out’.
I must admit that occasionally I start feeling this way. My training generally goes well and I really enjoy it but it is the lifestyle factors that let me down. For instance I find it very hard to stick to eating plans and I often don’t get enough sleep.
But anything worth having involves some kind of sacrifice. Many people who are not professional athletes achieve incredible things through hard work and sacrifice. I don’t want to be a professional athlete but I do want to achieve things that relatively few others can. So if that is the case, life’s too short not to make the effort.
There are actually many people who are prepared to put great efforts in. All the people who finish Ironman triathlons, for example, even the many thousands who run a marathon. So if you want to achieve something extraordinary, you need to work even harder than these people! It’s a good plan to assume that there’s always someone working harder than you, and inevitably that person will have a full time job, a family, all the usual challenges but will overcome them. Life’s too short not to.
The trick is to remember this at every moment where you have a choice to make. When someone offers you a muffin, or another pint or when there’s a good film on. These everyday, mundane issues are the ones that can make or break your effort. It’s not difficult for me to work hard during a training session. I love them, it’s great fun. For me, the challenge is to apply the same effort to the rest of my life, control the diet, the alcohol, the sleep – those details that can make the difference between a good result and a great one.
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