There is a trick I use when riding a bike whether it is a triathlon bike or mountain bike – I look where I want to go way up ahead instead of where I might not want to go. That may seem obvious, but it really isn’t. It’s tempting you see, to just look down at what is right in front of you or worse – where you do not want to go like a ditch, pothole or whatever. It’s probably one of the biggest lessons that I have learned in my days as a competitive athlete and a boss – focus on what you want, instead of (what most people do) focusing on what you do not want.
People do this driving too – they stare at the rock, or pole or concrete thing or cyclist that they do not want to hit and without intending to they steer slightly towards that very thing and sometimes – hit it. I have been nearly run off the road both bicycling and running and once in the case of running I was facing the driver – I could see him staring at me as he drove right at me. I was running well within the shoulder and had to jump to the ditch at the last second – and only then did he react and swerve back into his lane.
He was driving where he was looking, where (I assume) he didn’t want to go instead of looking at where he wanted to go. Of course he might have a hate on for runners and was trying to hit me, but I am pretty sure that isn’t true based on his facial expression when he realized he nearly hit me.
I am preparing for a six-day mountain bike trip from Banff to Montana and while training in Banff on the long weekend I was riding on some pretty gnarly single track stuff with a super steep drop off on one side and a steep mountain on the other side. The muddy trail under my wheels was barely two-feet wide and for a second or two I looked at where I didn’t want to go (which would result in death or a serious hospital visit) and the bike got closer the that edge. I quickly refocused on the trail ahead and where I wanted to go and made it safely to the next section of trail that was less treacherous.
This is so true for life and fitness; if we focus on being fat or out of shape or injured – then we simply get more of that. If you focus on not having donuts all you are thinking of is donuts. If instead you focus on eating great choices and yummy healthy food, then you will head that direction. If you picture yourself vibrant, healthy and fit, then that is exactly what you will become! Take a photo of you when you were fit and healthy (or a photo of you now, cut off the face and stick it on what you think would be a healthy body that you find online or in a magazine) and post it on a mirror in your home. Look at it every day and focus on where you want to be instead of looking in the mirror and being unkind to yourself. It is important not to judge yourself – you are here. You got yourself here and that is fine. It is what it is. You are here and if you are unhappy here, then it’s time to change. So focus on what you want – and go there.
If you have an injury it is easy to focus on that and be grumpy and angry. Instead, focus on getting well. Write out a plan of action for getting well (chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage, etc.) and focus on that. Focus on everything that you can do to get well and before you know it you will be past the injury.
Focus on what you want and focus on where you want to go. Be aware of the pitfalls, but do not focus on them.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.