Brain Training for going into the Unknown
Recently I was asked to come up with some words about how I am training my brain for my challenge to run 1680 miles across the UK and back again, when the furthest I’ve ever completed is (just) 32 miles in one day.
My first thought was: am I training my brain?
I guess so, but I think I’ve been in this mind-game for so long now that the individual processes themselves have become a single, integral part of my daily life. However, I will attempt to prise apart the structure of it to clarify what actually goes on inside my head and what I do in order to go further —though not necessarily faster.
First and foremost, you have to see it in your mind’s eye. I’ve been practising visualisation techniques for as long as I can remember, without even knowing I was doing it. Fortunately I was given some helpful tips as to how to focus the image in my mind, and understand how to visualise effectively. I went through this practice with an NLP practitioner, but here’s a short guide: play a show-reel inside your head of the day in action as you would like it to go —from waking up and getting breakfast, to yoga, driving to the event, setting up transition or going through registration; see yourself at the start line; see yourself being drawn to the finish line with a smile in your heart, a sharp determination in your mind, steady breathing, and exhilaration as you cross that line.
It’s quite a magical show-reel when you think about it; you can shower yourself with champagne, throw bouquets at yourself, have others rush up to your for autographs, or even see your family running to you with arms open-wide. Make it your movie. And watch it on repeat.
I use meditation as a reset button, but also because I’ve come to learn that meditation is a clear link to our inner-self and our inner-thoughts and what we want to truly happen. Meditation allows me to send my energy out into the universe so that my plans can be aligned and come to fruition. Whether it’s a science, or an art, is neither here nor there, it’s simply about grounding myself and steadying the boat when it starts to rock. Meditation is a part of my daily routine, and will continue to be so during my 6 weeks on the road. I highly recommend Transcendental Meditation, you might have come across Jim Carrey’s speech in an orange outfit —that was a TM University. I’ve tried Mindfulness (as a course), but asking someone with Bipolar Disorder to not think of something is like asking frogs to fly a plane. It’s not going to happen, and therein grows all sorts of additional issues. Fortunately, I found TM and I’m not asked to not think of anything, I’m just asked to be. I do however apply mindfulness techniques naturally: instead of focusing internally when I run with headphones and heart-rate altering songs, I turn my focus outwards and look for distractions to the pain and the suffering that I’m putting my body through: I look for flowers, colours, cloud formations, nature’s patterns, quirky doors, beautiful vistas and even interesting people, and then I photograph them —again another reason to go and run more, to find more of what makes the world beautiful.
I have to set my goals in stone in order to know what I want to focus on because my mind likes to look at several plans at once and I get a little scattered. My goals may change from time-to-time, but as long as I am clear on what they are, I can focus my mind on what outcome I am looking for —this can be a certain day’s mileage, or a total for the week, or reviewing my routine or sleep patterns. My goals aren’t rigid, I give my mind a path to follow and then I coax it along, usually with treats and promises of food and sleep.
I write down what I am planning to achieve, and I write it several times and in different forms —online, in emails, on paper, on notepads, on sticky notes, on my iPhone. The clearer that I am on my goals to achieve, the more my brain is able to work towards those goals, because I am allowing my mind and my energy to synchronise efforts towards the same objective.
Being Clear on my WHY
Here is a term that I learnt whilst building my Arbonne Network Marketing business (believe it or not, Network Marketing is at its core all about personal development). My goals are different to my why I’m getting out of bed to do this. My goals are the objects to achieve, my why is the fire in my mind that will burn brightly and fuel the engine so that I can achieve them. Everyone’s why is different, even if they’re striving for the same goal. The stronger that your why is, the stronger your passion is for your entire plan, and the more intensely you will feel it deep within your subconscious being. It will penetrate your dreams, your thoughts, your speech, and your ideas: that’s when you know you have the power to achieve your goals, no matter what.