When we look at people who have reached a goal we also aspire to achieve, we often ask ourselves the wrong question.
I recently recorded a TV documentary on the National Ironman Triathlon held in Hawaii every year. That goal is still on my bucket list, and as I watched, I found myself asking the wrong question almost immediately.
“How do they train for such an ultimate test of physical endurance?”
The answer of course, lies in hundreds of training books and online resources. The first question out of people’s mouths when I lost 60 pounds in college was “How did you do that?” As for the goals and New Year’s Resolutions that you have set, it is easy to find out “how” to do something. As a matter of fact, you can find out “How” to do almost anything in the world with today’s technology; just ask “Google”
So, if “how” is the wrong question to ask, what is the right question?
The short interview with the eighty five year old man racing in the Ironman brought me back to my senses. Before the “How?” question, I needed to ask “What or Why?”
“What drove him? or Why was he able to train for such an ultimate test of physical endurance?”
The answer was simple. He had a simple life belief: “Go anaerobic once a day.” He believed in being active and pushing himself once a day into an anaerobic state while exercising.
“What drives me to run marathons consistently, or why am did I train to run ultramarathons?” One of my beliefs is that running is the most whole and complete personal experience. It is mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually fulfilling.
I run consistently because I believe that doing something that provides a whole and complete experience makes me a better husband, father, executive coach, and person.
Buried within the “What’s and Why’s” are the BELIEFS that will bridge the gap between setting the goal and learning “How” to do it.
Everyone knows “how” to lose weight. The true challenge for people is that they are not connected enough to the “What and Why” (the beliefs and rules) that have allowed others to succeed. They have not adopted those beliefs and rules as their own.
If you have not set some goals for this year, ask yourself, “What could I accomplish this year that would be the most mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually fulfilling experience for me?” If you have your goals, but are already struggling with sticking to those New Year’s resolutions, look at someone who has achieved those results. Put the question of “How have they accomplished it?” on pause for a minute, and instead, ask yourself the much more essential question of “What drove them?” and “Why did they achieve this goal?” Seek out the beliefs that have allowed them to succeed and make them your own.
And then, and only then ask, “How did they do it?” Once you have adopted empowering beliefs, taking action will become much easier.
Enjoy your very own Ironman!