Taking Success and Failure in Stride

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I don’t know about you, but I now wake up each morning with two goals in mind: Be the best person I can be and experience the best day I am capable of living. Unfortunately, that was not always the case in the past, but now I do a great job of handling what is thrown at me in a day. How I handle situations—given circumstances, obstacles, and outside influences—regulate the outcome. Do I let negatives bring me down, or do I try and make lemonade out of lemons? Do I overlook the positives, or try to not take them for granted? There have been countless books written on how one can be the best they can be, on how one can live their best life, but I want to address one specific area of sports and training that will help you achieve your best.  

It’s extremely easy to let our vested interest in sports and physical fitness define us to the point where any negative event or occurrence undermines our well-being and eventually takes away our ability to be the best we can be. 

Let me give an example of what I’m talking about: I know a very fit woman who made it a goal to complete a triathlon while posting a PR, or personal best time. She trained regularly, made sacrifices with her personal time to fit in the training, and did everything she could to be the strongest athlete at every workout. She put months of effort and energy into being the best she could be at that triathlon. Come race day she expected an amazing performance, but she didn’t even finish. Nutrition, weather conditions, and a poor mental attitude ultimately knocked what was supposed to be her “best performance ever” down to her “worst performance ever.” With so much vested time, energy, and effort tied to this race, it was easy to let her disappointment get the best of her. She let it ruin her day, week, month and, most tragically, her own well-being. She became irritable and awful to be around. Her friends didn’t want to spend time with her anymore. She woke up each day with a negative mindset. One bad race had consumed her and led her down an inhibiting and debilitating downward spiral. Instead of trying to learn and grow from the experience, she let it become viral within. She let it define her attitude, approach, and outlook on each day.

After a good amount of time had passed, she realized she wasn’t happy. She was still physically fit, looked great, trained and worked out, but her negativity continued to resonate in her daily life. Eventually she started to realize something wasn’t right; she wasn’t being the best she could be. Her attitude and mindset needed to change, so she committed herself to follow a mantra for the next race she competed in: “If I am doing the best I can at this very given moment, then I am a success no matter what the outcome.”  

She knew that, no matter what was being thrown at her—good or bad—she was going to live her life to the fullest during that moment. At her next race, she set a new PR, won her age division, and embarked on a whole new way of embracing her passion for sports, training, life, and the world. 

Now, every morning I wake up and acknowledge that I am going to be the best I can be that day—even if a workout or race isn’t perfect. 

It’s constructive as an athlete to take all the ups and downs that sports and fitness journeys throw your way. Allow them to contribute to your growth and happiness. Kick start your positive outlook on training, health, and performance with the New Year. The rewards of adopting a less negative attitude and mindset towards fitness will soon be apparent in all areas of your life.

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