Last week, I became very present to the fact that my mindset has shifted in a new way. I have coined the shift as “auto commit” which I derived from the common expression “auto pilot”—the act of going through a cycle of motions without thinking. Over the last few months, I’ve started to notice and become very aware of how my day plays out because of the “auto pilot” model I have chosen for my life. When I began to break down each one of my daily actions, it became very clear where my time goes and why certain things do and don’t get done. I’ve always been a busy person – jumping from thing to thing, trying to accomplish the daily essentials while also making time for the tasks that are part of the ‘big picture’ of my future. And as the day is limited in hours, being effective, not necessarily efficient, with one’s time becomes paramount. I realize that when I put everything I’ve committed too in my schedule and acknowledge them as the rocks in my jar, adding the sand is easy and everything works out. Yet when I try and put the sand in first then squeeze the rocks in later, not only does it not work, but I’ve also made a mess that I have to clean up causing me to waste more time. Ultimately, when the day ends and I crawl into bed, I like to fall asleep knowing that if I were to die right then, I would be satisfied knowing I lived a fulfilling day; even if it consisted of unglamorous events such as doing laundry and grocery shopping.
When I say that I’m auto commit it’s me realizing that everything I have committed too is naturally being done since I’ve established that they are the fundamental rocks in my life that add value to my being. And when this happens, everything else falls into place. Last week was the first time I realized the power of auto commitment since I missed all three of my groups runs –meaning I would have to run on my own. Last year I would never have allowed this to happen. I HAD to run with my group because I felt I would not execute the same result if I did it on my own. This year, however, I am confident in my abilities; I know I can put in the kilometers by myself without feeling concerned that I won’t give 110%. In addition, since it is my second year training for a marathon, I have a better sense of what I’m doing. As such, I am happy to rearrange my schedule because running is still a commitment (rock) and therefore needs to be scheduled into my day. The key is to put tactics in place that will keep me accountable should a rearrangement occur. For example, after dinner with a friend on last Thursday night I arrived home at roughly 9:30pm. I purposely said to the concierge upon entry “see you in five” because I wanted to hear it from myself that even though I’m about to go home, I’m going to get changed and go back out. Sure enough, saying in out loud helped me get in the mindset; in addition, I felt accountable to keep my word with the concierge. Once upstairs, I instantly changed and headed back out without hesitation. I was supposed to do 10km with my group that night and when I passed the concierge and she asked how far I had to go, I replied “we’ll see how I feel”. It was dark and cold, but I stuck to the sidewalks and reminded myself of my race in a few weeks and how great it would be if I achieved my goal. Roughly an hour later I stepped back into the lobby at which point the concierge asked “so, how far did you go”? I smiled and said “12km”! I felt like I had won the lottery! Not only did I adjust my schedule to have extra time with my friend, but I managed to get more kilometers in.
On Tuesdays I typically run 6km and lately I’ve been doing these runs on the treadmill at my condo. I’ve mentioned before how the treadmill is the death of me and I rather run outside than run in the same spot, indoors, in a stale room. While this is true, I’ve come to realize I am giving the treadmill a lot of power which is directly affecting my mental stamina. For example, if I run 5km outside that is 5km in distance I am from my condo; meaning I have no choice (really) but to repeat the same 5km in order to get back home. With the treadmill, I’ve come to realize that if I run 5km and suddenly feel tired, I can easily press stop and hop off no problem. Initially I saw this as a disadvantage, but for my “short” runs I realize it will help me listen to my body instead of my mind. So this morning I chose to run 6km on the treadmill and while I reached points where I felt tired and wanted to stop, I instead changed my thoughts to assessing body. “Nothing hurt, everything felt fine, so keep going”. A few minutes later my brain again would say “just stop and go to a circuit workout”, but again when I assessed my body I realized “no you’re fine and your first race of the season is in two weeks so keep going”. Having instant access to that stop button was really empowering and forced me to really focus and listen to my body instead of my internal dialogue. Of course, 6km flew by and I found myself running longer because of where I put my attention. I focused on my body, did an assessment and thought about my commitment to my goal. I thought “if I stop now the only person who loses is me come race day and I don’t want to lose. I want to reach that start line feeling confident and proud of my training”. That in itself motivates me to not hit snooze or eat empty calories. I don’t want months of work to go to waste, I want to win for me. Hence why auto commit is a model I’ve come to love!