This is it folks – the year you do what you always wanted to but fear held you back. Fear and laziness. The year of conquering the impossible. Make your mind up now – come 01 February 2017 you are going to be a different person. Let us be, in Yeat’s centennial words, “All changed, changed utterly”. For the better of course. I have spoken elsewhere of my fitness targets and fitness is so important both for the physical and mental health it brings but also for the strength and determination to achieve our aims in other areas of our lives. Remember what we learned from ‘Younger Next Year”, 80% of age-related illnesses, aches and pains can be alleviated by exercise. Imagine, instead of complaining and dealing with those illnesses and diseases we could be working on our grand plan, on achieving our impossible dream. And, of course, being fit tends to mean that we would have more time – generally the fit live longer, and better.
February First is considered the first day of Spring amongst us Celts – traditionally those flowers we associate with spring, especially the daffodils, begin to show their beauty to the world.
Let us too begin to show our beauty to this world.
I spoke of adopting training methods from a few different trainers in my last blogs – including some serious exercises from Eric Orton’s book, ‘The Cool Impossible’. But Eric goes further than just physical training. He talks about the need to change your attitude, your mind – to use your mind to achieve your targets by visualisation, the use of mantras and rituals. There is a section near the end of Eric’s book he calls ‘Training Your Mind’. He says he believes being an athlete is a choice and that we can all be athletes regardless of natural ability – this of course applies to more than just being an athlete, we can apply it to all aspects of our life. Eric describes a three step process but first he tells us to examine our fears, our excuses and our laziness. Things we tell ourselves, excuses we make such as, “My schedule is too busy. I don’t have time to train”, “I am too old, too young, too out of shape”, and so on, including one of my favourites, “This is a silly midlife crisis. I should get a red convertible instead”. Having exposed our negative thoughts, the next step is to consider what three characteristics we need to overcome them – pick three and develop them as a mantra. Eric lists mantra words such as persistent, confident, strong and so on. Pick them, repeat them and come to see them in yourself. “STRONG, DETERMINED, AWARE”. Once you have decided on them, write them down in big bold letters. Next, according to Eric, you need a ritual. It might be clapping your hands before a race, taking three deep breaths before an important meeting, whatever you choose and whatever you consider appropriate. Carry out your ritual and repeat your mantra so that the two become connected in your mind, so that one reminds you of the other. The third step is visualization and Eric states he is a strong believer in the power of visualisation. Imagine it, live it in your mind, follow the steps you want to take and the success you want to achieve – thats visualisation. It could be running a sub-25 minute 5k for the first time ever, stand up Thady, or it could be running for president – your choice. Just don’t limit yourself. In Eric’s case, his aim is a runner in every household – how cool is that?
The aim, the target, Eric refers to as the Cool Impossible. Impossible because you have to dare to dream it and Cool because it will be so cool when you achieve it.
In Eric’s own words, the only thing really impossible is ‘failure’.
Buy it – read it for yourself.
Don’t restrict your grand plans to fitness and athletic ambitions. Seek to change yourself and, in doing so, change the world. Be the person you really want to be. Be that person that people want to be near, to hang out with, just because you are authentic and kind. By you actions and your very being become a beacon in this world – a beacon for good. This might be a greater challenge for some, like me, than physical training but if we can do one then we can do the other. We only have the one life. Perhaps fortunately, it seems unlikely that we will have much opportunity for regret, for wasting our opportunities during this life, once its over. But so many people experience regrets during their lifetime – as if it was all over and there was no chance to change things, to put things right. There is always time – time to love, to live that love and show that love.
I’m counting on you all, make yourself and the world a better place come February First 2017.
Let no one say of us:
“I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,”
as Yeats described his contemporaries in his poem ‘Easter 1916’. Rather instead let them say, mimicking Yeats
“He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.”
Let me know of your journey.