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Being Consistent in the Face of Adversity

“But if this ever-changing world in which we're living makes you give in and cry…” -Axil Rose, after Sir Paul McCartney

By Kyle Sewell, Master Trainer at Camberwell

There seems to be little certainty in the world at the moment. With ongoing flux and change, we do not know what the world will look like, either short or long term. This makes gaining traction and being consistent, key elements in achieving success of any kind, nigh impossible. Whether it be global pandemic, impending lockdown, government restrictions, health fears or just plain sickness or injury, focusing on a goal of any kind seems daunting at best. Goals that served us 2-3 years ago, goals based around holidays or running events, seem challenging to comprehend. Many of us are just trying to get by, just getting through the day.

Managing stress and anxiety as best as we can, without feeling overwhelmed, worried, or exhausted. What to do? Let us look at the practical and pragmatic. Real world things that can help manage the uncertainty. Laid up in bed with illness? Prioritise nutrition. Dealing with an injury? Enjoy the extra rest and try a different training approach. At home due to lockdown or isolation? Time to get the house in order. Can’t go on that holiday? More time to plan a better one. Race or event got cancelled? Focus on the next one. The list goes on. One must be willing to be flexible. Accept change. Focus on what you can control. On what you can do.

American tennis hero, Arthur Ashe gave insight into how to tackle uncertainty and adversity. “Start where you are, use what you’ve got, do what you can.” Do what you can. Simply focus on the doing, without fixating on the final outcome. Sometimes that means taking things one day at a time. Daily action steps and habits that compound and lead to big results. We might not be able to choose our circumstances but we can choose our response to said circumstance. In the 1980s, psychologists called this Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or ACT, as an action-oriented approach to manage stress, anxiety as well as a plethora of other disorders. Focus on what works for you. Set small, daily goals that are attainable in the short-term. Month by month, day by day, one thing at a time. Accept your thoughts & feelings. Humans are fuelled by emotion. You are allowed to feel things, but don’t let those feelings govern your life. Choose a valued direction. Take action.

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