In Decision

Posted on March 30, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If I could make up my mind the way housekeeping makes up hotel beds, I would be in pretty good shape.  Perfectly tucked and creased.  Lumps in all the right places.

Unfortunately, my decision-making ability isn’t always quite that smooth.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  When it comes to deciding between, say, Tagalongs or Thin Mints, the decision is easy.  Both.  And therein lies my problem.

There’s a sprint tri coming up in June that I really want to enter.  It will be my first tri in almost two years, and I know what I need to do to train for it.  I’ve done it before.   However, for me, training for a race means I need to eat clean, stop wining, and stick diligently to the training schedule hanging on my fridge.

I have what’s called a competing commitment.  I am committed to entering this race (and, once I’m out there, to placing).  And I am also committed to Tagalongs and merlot.  I can’t have both.

Fortunately, our minds are remarkable things.  This is fortunate, that is, once we understand how they work, especially in terms of decision-making.  About 90% of our decisions are already made for us—by our subconscious mind.  The beliefs we have about ourselves and the world are “programmed” in us when we’re young by our families, culture, education, geographic location, etc.  Are these beliefs right or wrong?  That depends.  How are they serving you?

Take me, for instance.  I grew up with the belief that I was shy and non-athletic.  I believed I was made to read books, draw pictures, hang out alone.  Most of my circumstances supported this belief and when I tried to participate in an activity contrary to it, I usually failed.

Fast forward 20 or so years.  A little voice inside me tells me there are things I want do. Like teach and public speak.  Swim and run and ride my bike really fast.  But these things aren’t “me.”  I can’t see myself doing them—until I change my mind.

Once I decide I can do these things, I start honoring that voice.  I see me doing what I want to do, and I start doing it.   If my subconscious can be programmed by others when I’m young, it can be reprogrammed by me when I’m old(er).  I can retrain my mind to think about me in a different way.

I became a teacher.  A public speaker (however big or small the audience).  A runner, biker, swimmer.   I changed the way I saw myself.  I decided I could do it.  And I did.

So why has it been so hard for me to commit to training for the June tri?  Until this week, I hadn’t fully resolved to do it.  My mind wasn’t all in.  It was still drawn to the boxes of Girl Scout cookies hidden in my freezer behind a wall of frozen vegetables and chicken.

Now that I reached the first step, I can take the second.  The first act of deciding is in the mind.  The follow through is in the body.  Both require action.  I’m finally in.

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9 Responses to “In Decision”

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Spend the weekend emptying out (and my ’emptying out,’ I mean scarf down) all the cookies and wine. Don’t you need some kind of binging ritual to solidify the decision? 🙂

Yay for you! I look forward to hearing about your training.

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How’d you know that’s my favorite way to empty out all the “bad” stuff? 🙂

Training will be fun! I’m looking forward to it.

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🙂 I always secretly hope that I will make myself sick enough that I don’t even want [enter delicious indulgence here] ever again. It has yet to work.

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Too funny! I always do too. Hasn’t worked yet.

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This is a really great post! After 12 half marathons and two marathons, I still don’t think of myself as “athletic.” I just signed up for my first sprint triathlon… and it took a ton of positive self talk to register, and then to attend the tri clinic I went to last weekend. Now, I’m working on getting the courage to attend the Master’s swim sessions at my gym. Deciding IS the first step… and sometimes we have to keep talking ourselves into taking a series of baby steps to get there.

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Congrats! You are definitely on your way to tri-ing! With me too it is certainly true that we have to keep talking ourselves into taking a series of baby steps to get there. Each day is a new challenge, a new chance, and a gift.

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I loved the cognitive empowerment. “Retraining”…brilliant. I am not a runner, but if I wanted to start; reading your blog would be the first step. Thanks for the mental boost this morning. : )

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You’re welcome–and thank you!

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[…] you’d think that I would look forward to the swim leg of the sprint tri I’m doing in June, especially since it’s in open […]

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