If you give yourself permission to fail, you will. And the reverse is true. If you allow yourself to succeed, you will.
“What the he$$ is she talking about,” you might wonder. Well, hopefully this example from this morning will answer that question.
Five or six times a week, I put on my workout clothes and go out to get some exercise. If it’s a decent day, weather-wise, I typically go for a jog/walk. I jog a bit, I power walk, I sometimes walk more slowly. Most days I cover about 4 miles, but some days 2 and some 3. I realize, though, that I have been giving myself permission to fail.
My real goal is to jog the entire way, whether it’s the 2 miles or the 4. But I never do. I notice that I’ve been giving myself a million reasons NOT to succeed at jogging non-stop. “I’m getting close to 60 years old for crying out loud; I’m lucky I’m moving at all.” “I can’t do big hills, that’s just the way it is.” “I have enough time, I’ll just walk fast.” and so on.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that even on the days where I have extra energy, I tell myself that as long as I run the first mile, I’m good. So I run a mile, and stop running. Even if I have more steam. I am failing at running the entire route because I’m allowing myself to fail.
So last night, I gave myself a pep talk. I decided that this morning I was going to run the entire loop. No matter what. Not being totally crazy, I decided to start with the shortest route – the two-mile loop. From my house, the first quarter mile or so is downhill. Then there is a small hill, and the rest is a mild uphill grade. That is where I would typically stop running, huffing and puffing already. Then on the way back, the route ends with a quarter mile hill (up). I’ve never run up that hill. Today I told myself if I was huffing and puffing and wanted to stop, I’d just run slower. The goal today was not time. It was to jog the entire thing, driveway to driveway.
It’s amazing what determination and a plan can do. I left the house and started my run. I put one foot in front of the other and kept going. When I got to the one mile mark, I turned around and kept jogging. As I got to the last quarter mile hill, I was huffing and puffing. I was tired. I wanted to stop. But I hadn’t given myself permission to stop today. I told myself I was going to do it. All the way to my driveway. No matter what. So I slowed down a bit and kept going. Up and up. Across the road, and right to my driveway.
The important difference today was all mental attitude. I said I was going to do it, and I MEANT it. Every part of me was determined to meet my goal. I was NOT going to fail. And you know what? I can definitely see how this pass/fail attitude is impacting other parts of my life. I find that I allow myself to fail at certain work goals for various non-critical reasons. So the same mental attitude and determination that got me back to my house without stopping today will be focused on those other goals. I give myself permission to succeed!