Motivation, enthusiasm and action are the precursors of success. Each building the chemistry which drives achievement. Mindkickstart explores each step of how we can manage that chemistry and explains that if we don’t there is a default state in the body which can inhibit.
It is always feels difficult to write about fitness for fear of putting some readers off or because my particular fitness interest may not appeal to others. Nothing weird!! We all have our own way, but exercise is a powerful way to demonstrate the processes by which our internal chemistry is managed.
I like to run, cycle, walk and do circuits in the gym, as well as gardening. It is great to feel fit. But I fully accept that there are many other ways to achieve the same end result.
Most highly motivated people; most high achievers include some fitness regime as part of their daily routines. Indeed having a good daily routine is an essential for success. There is a natural routine, or rhythm, called the circadian rhythm which manages the flow of hormones which are essential for all actions. The secret for success is to take control of that mechanism.
Exercise is a component of that process and is a great way to understand how it works.
So I go to the gym a few times a week, in particular when the weather is not conducive to being outdoors, but that is seldom.
The gym is a leveller in some ways. There are the 80 year olds and the young; heavy and thin, beginners and pugilists. There I see a young man who has a neurological disorder who comes with his carer, in a wheelchair, but hoists himself onto the various pieces of apparatus. I see the old lady on crutches. There are those who appear to be obsessed in many different ways and those who will judge me likewise. All share the motivation and enthusiasm which sets them apart from others.
Associating with likeminded people.
There is another chap who arrives, has a coffee, reads the morning paper and heads off to work no doubt feeling invigorated by just being there. You may have read another article here on Mindkickstart which demonstrated that simply thinking of an exercise strengthens muscles and associating with likeminded people is so important in success. Perhaps this guy reading his paper is onto something. I look at all these people and celebrate what we have in common.
Running is what I enjoyed most of all for many years. So don’t switch off! Just replace your favourite activity with my experience and if you do not have one, it is never too late to start.
I love running in the rain there is a great feeling of abandon and an enhanced sense of solitude. It is even better in the wind. I have run in 40 degrees centigrade and -10c; both exhilarating.
One of the beauties of running is that you don’t need a booking, a team or a partner. It is there at any hour. The police seem more curious when I run at one in the morning than at five but that makes it safe as well. There is always another runner or cyclist with a greeting as we pass in this fraternity of likeminded people.
Lessons from running as a way of life.
Going for a run is a metaphor for and challenge in a day.
There have been days when I did not feel like taking my daily run and perhaps the weather was dreadful, days when I would have to motivate myself to take the first steps. At times like that I would sit and visualise my route before starting and in particular visualise where I would turn for home. This is not a casual thought but a process of building a clear picture. Once motivated and with a clear visualised plan, the subconscious mind will manage the rest like a homing device.
It is important to be well nourished but never to run on a full stomach. Blood is needed elsewhere rather than for digestion. Nature sorts that out too!! It will empty your stomach as it redirects blood in the most efficient way if you are not careful!
Exercising is a brilliant time for sorting out the challenges of a day. Taking action kickstarts the essential chemistry for the effort which has been planned. Often during a run, solutions to some challenge would just pop into consciousness. I often sit to write these down as soon as I return. For me running is like meditation lost in a subconscious state. Sometimes, far out on the roadand so lost in relaxation, I would come back to consciousness to realise that I was in fact running and where I was. This is the perfect emotional environment for problem solving.
There are occasions when the going can get tough and when motivation is required. Having a motivational self-talk prepared for times like this is very helpful. There is an artical here on Mindkickstart about this.
Listen to your body:
There are times when all the motivation is not enough and tiredness takes over. This may be a sign of mild ill health so it is good to listen to the body. Occasionally, at times like this, a hill on the road becomes too great a challenge.
There is a great lesson here: if a hill is too great a challenge it must be rationalised before stopping. Agree the reason with yourself why you cannot achieve it today – for example: bad sleep the night before, too much food or too little, too much alcohol or too much exercise too often. Having done this, set yourself a point on the hill where you allow yourself to stop. Doing it in this way means that it will not be a psychological barrier the next time it looms up ahead.
On the other hand when the run just passes in that meditative state which I mentioned earlier, it is possible to run an extra mile or two. From that point onwards that becomes your distance. You have stretched the comfort zone. The resulting feeling is fantastic. It is nature’s reward.
Running requires the same biochemistry as stress so it is a great way to clear the stress of a day. You know also that while stress causes many physiological changes in the body to help to manage difficult situations it is also is essential for growth. Exercise manages that chemistry in a therapeutic way. The relaxation afterwards is curative and promotes growth. Nature’s reward for taking care in this way is that great feeling known as runners high. It is a biochemical release which is the chemistry of healing and growth, both physical and mental.
This euphoric feeling used to be attributed to endorphins but names do not matter. It is now attributed to endocanabinoids.
Use self-talk to motivate and visualise the challenge but you cannot expect to run ten miles if you have not trained. Training rushed, commonly ends in injury. To avoid injury, set manageable training goals and celebrate every achievement along the way. Rationalise insurmountable challenges so that they are temporary and will be conquered next time. Apply this lesson to every project in life.
Your daily exercise routine is a metaphor for any challenge. The lessons are many and are hidden in the writing above.
Building enthusiasm, taking action, visualisation, meditation, solitude, goal setting, celebrating goals achieved, greeting likeminded people and enjoying the relaxing rewards, are all ways of managing your biochemistry. Building the chemistry of success.
Also published on Medium.