Focus on 1 thing…

I was listening to a great podcast about lessons you would tell your younger self and one of the ideas sparked a realization for me. (It’s a really great podcast and will get you reflecting. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen: Here. If you don’t have Apple podcasts you can search Leading Yourself Podcast with Carolina de Arriba)

One of her ideas was to stay focused on one thing even though you may want to accomplish many. The reasoning is because if you focus on one thing at a time and give it all your time and energy, you will succeed. The other things you want to accomplish will happen over time. The point was, don’t inundate yourself with all your goals at the same time otherwise, you may not succeed at any of them. Success takes time and dedication. Unfortunately, we only have a finite amount of time to dedicate to success which means, we can’t do everything we want to do at once.

Right now, I have so many things I’m working on. I’m really good at making to do lists and crossing them off. But still, I don’t feel like I’m succeeding at any of these things that I want. This is why this point made me pause to reflect. I thought back to one of my recent successes, my marathon, and I realized the main thing that made it a success for me: It was my number 1 priority.

  • As soon as I registered, I told my friends and family and warned them that I would be preoccupied with training. I made a training plan and stuck to it no matter what. This meant that I couldn’t go to happy hour and take advantage of all the drink specials on Thursday and Friday nights because I had to make sure I wasn’t dehydrated for my runs. This meant every Saturday morning I was not home with my family because I was running. This meant that during the week I focused on good nutrition and hydration versus grabbing Dunkin Donuts on the way to work or going out to lunch everyday. This meant I had to go to bed very early because my runs would start very early in the morning. I sacrificed a lot because my marathon became my priority.
  • I had to accept that my other hobbies/goals were on pause. This is the tough part. I had to accept that I can’t do everything. Sure, I wanted to remodel my bathroom like I imagined that year. I wanted to learn how to do it myself and I was disappointed that I couldn’t find time to do it. But I had to stop pursuing it because I had no extra time or energy. I knew this. But my mind works like a to do list. I figured, if I can just do a little bit every day, I can remodel my bathroom. I was getting so frustrated that I kept putting off starting it because I just didn’t have time. I was putting a lot of training time in for my race and I still had my responsibilities to my job and my family! Ugh. So instead of forcing myself to make a bathroom remodel to do list, I forced myself to only focus on my training plan. My bathroom can wait! I can focus on it after the marathon. I decided to put it to the side, and not even try to think about it. This holds true for other goals I had too. I had to convince myself (with lots of journaling and hard self talk) that it’s ok to delay some other things in order to achieve something that was very important to me.
  • I think in relation to the two points above, I was able to become “obsessed” with running. All my time was spent on all things running. I bought a Runners World magazine subscription. I started reading new shoe reviews. I bought new running accessories that I never knew I needed. I read lots of blogs and articles about running long races. I listened to podcasts that helped strengthen my mental stamina. And I could do all of this, because I made the marathon my priority. So it was ok! This is what I did in my spare time instead of remodeling my bathroom or hanging at happy hours and sleeping in. It helped with my success.

I’ve written several times in the blog that I consider my marathon a success. Others may not consider my 5 hour completion time a success but I do because I never imagined that I could do it (or that I even wanted to do it!). Now, it’s done, it’s not so scary anymore and I’ve learned a lot about what I can accomplish if I focus on 1 thing.

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