HOW TO NAVIGATE THE LAST STRETCH (Part 1 of 3)

Not many people would call themselves an endurance athlete. That’s reserved for the ultra-runners, the long-distance swimmers, the hardcore adventurers etc.  Take a moment and consider what you have navigated since March 2020. That has taken endurance. We may not be that different to all those endurance athletes after all! All of us have had to dig deep, draw from skills and tools to navigate each day, work through pain and emotional stress, comfort friends and embrace change.

And it’s not yet done. We are still in The Middle of this.

To stick with the endurance athlete analogy, I am reminded of that last stretch that takes place toward the end of a long race. Whilst I may not be a professional athlete or even a competitive endurance enthusiast, I have been in that place where I have had a sense of relief wash over me as I catch a glimmer of the finish line in the distance, soon to be replaced by the realisation that the distance between where I am and that finish line is still great. It’s the last stretch.

Generally, at that time you are tired. You are over the race. You have nothing left in the tank. You just want it done. Sound familiar. Now with vaccines and second waves, we catch a glimmer of hope for an impending end to all the drama. BUT we also realise we still have a long way to go. We’ve got nothing left to give yet we can’t give up. We have to keep going. We have to reach the finish despite all the hard work behind us.

When I see that finish line, I draw from a three fundamentals to help me navigate the last stretch and get it done, especially when I am depleted and drained. In this blog, I would like to outline the first.

 

TAKE CARE OF THE BASICS

In any sporting discipline, when one is tired, technique goes out the window. Your body begins to droop, you drop your head, you forget to breathe, you stumble over your legs, you relax the muscles you have focusing on and you let of your nutrition strategy. These are the basics. These basics are essential for every part of the race; the start, the middle and the last stretch before the finish.

It’s the same in life. When we are in a tough place, we forget the basics. We choose unhealthy eating over healthy eating, we stop exercising, we stop connecting with people we love, we drop the rituals that serve us, we let go of healthy hygiene practices. We stop taking care of the basics.

What are the basics for you? What practices and behaviours have been fundamental for healthy living? What rituals serve you? What helps you to live intentionally?

These basic fundamentals must be deemed sacred. They are not little luxuries that you do when things are good. They are sacred necessities. Consider the earth. It’s an eco-system, right? It is a balance of intertwined systems which ensure our world works. It’s the same with us. Our lives are eco-systems. What we eat, read, think, do is all part of our eco system which needs to be upheld. When we drop parts of that eco system the whole system suffers.

If you have let go of the basics during this time, here are a few things you can do:

  • Jot down the basic fundamentals which are required for you to live well. These are activities which you can control.
  • Recommit to the truth that these basics are not luxuries but sacred necessities.
  • Place as many of the basics in your diary so as to catalyse action. Or reach out to someone that can hold you accountable to action.
  • Take stock weekly or daily to ensure that you have stuck to the basics. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get them right. Push reset and try again. But don’t give up.

By sticking to the basics, we ensure we lay a foundation to influence our context.

Part 2 to follow soon.

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