1. Assuming I do have the capacity to perform at GREATER levels, how can I?
Operative word; GREATER. We all have bad days. Myself, yep I have them but on average during the past 75 days I've had mostly good days and some very good. On good days I eat well, I exercise, and I end they day feeling successful. But, was I really successful? Could I have eaten even greater? Could I have walked faster or longer, or lifted weights with greater form or weight? It would seem the obvious answer is YES. OK, if YES, then why don't I? Why do we settle for good and not something greater?
The real question there was "...how can I? I'll short cut my own self analysis and jump to a potential answer; my degree of concentration. What do I mean? For example when I am walking and finish 2 miles in 40 minutes that is good. But why not 39? What did I concentrate on during the walk? Was it the pain, or how much further I have to go or some other distraction that isn't key to walking with greater result? What if I had concentrated on my stride mechanics, or my breathing, or where my head & eyes are set? Would I have had a faster walk and / or one that may have been greater in quality e.g. burned more calories or strengthened my muscles more?
Another example for eating this time; it is lunch time at the office cafeteria and I know I need to eat. I choose a reasonably healthy salad and put a bit of dressing and other toppings on it, it was 500 calories and 45% fat thanks to the add-ons. Why didn't I make a 500 / 30 salad, or a 400 / 25; something with greater balance being my point? Was I concentrating on what I wanted to eat vs. what I ought to be eating? Perhaps I chose the salad bar because it simply was the shortest line compared to the fish line which was 10 deep. What if I had concentrated on each ingredient and its impact to overall portion & balance of the meal, or pre-thought about what lunch should be considering the breakfast & snacks I ate earlier today? Would I have eaten a meal that was greater in quality for fueling my mind & body?
Again, I warned you, this post is more serious or deeper than my usual...
There is a 'mental' aspect to being healthy, many here have acknowledged getting our mind set as a key to health success. A better attitude, a new confidence, greater knowledge; just some characteristics of a healthy mental approach.
Yet those seem obvious for transforming the old me into the new, for taking those first steps, for tasting some success. Which makes me ask, does the obvious gets us just so far? Perhaps the obvious is good for getting us to that first dreaded plateau where we flounder wondering what is wrong; why did the progress slow or stop?
Could GREATER concentration be the answer to GREATER performance? Again, that sounds too obvious, too simple; right? It probably does, but what is wrong with simple revelations? OK, I didn't just keyboard hunt & peck all those words to end by telling you, or myself, the obvious. Nope, I'm not convinced it is simple especially for the beginner to getting healthy from a non-healthy state.
Yesterday I put concentration to the test. My son & I walked my favorite 2.25 Mile Lake Andrea Loop. We walked it a week ago too and I posted my results and thoughts on how could we possibly ever walk it any faster, that post is here: day-68-acronym-love
Last week we walked that loop in 40:11 minutes and when we finished I had doubts we could do much better if at all. This week I wanted to challenge myself as to why I couldn't post an even greater number. Not just a second or two, but shave 10 or 15 seconds off that time.
I had come to the theory this week that if I concentrated more on what I was doing while walking that I could. So off we went. Form, I concentrated on picking up my knees and setting them down fluidly; not my usual slinging of legs forward one after the other. Rhythm, I got my arms into the act as synchronized pendulums setting cadence; not my usual hanging and flailing alongside for the ride. Vision, I held my chin up and looked straight ahead picking a target and walking directly towards it; not my usual zig zag of the paths width.
Don't get me wrong, my concentration was not 100% dialed in for this entire walk. There was the good looking girl that jogged passed whom my son had to tug on my shirt for to be sure I didn't miss her. There was the fisherman who caught a fish just as we were abreast of him, oh it was a nice one. I'm not a robot, my concentration was not absolute; but it was far greater than any effort previous on this loop.
And for that we completed the journey in 38:10 minutes, shattering my desired 10 or 15 seconds improvement goal. Needless to say I was elated, proud, and inspired to wonder just what else can I do even greater if I were to just concentrate?
OK, I know I said I had 'some' questions but I'll stop here with just that one for now otherwise this post will grow much much longer and it is already way longer than the length I like to keep my posts at.
Final thought, that is my son Andrew in the picture. Before we started I told him I wanted us to concentrate on beating our previous time. Being the smart wonder that he is, he struck the pose you see there which I had him hold long enough to take the picture.
Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!