Finish the Race Attitude: Make it Work for you in 2018

So what is a “Finish the race attitude?” Well, attitude is defined as “A way of feeling or acting toward a person, thing or situation” and “finish the race,” is getting things done!

In this article, I want to talk about the three steps to having a “finish the race attitude:” goal setting, goal execution and goal completion.

Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the art and science of goal setting. She gathered 267 people together – men and women from all over the world, and from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, lawyers and bankers. She divided the participants into groups, according to who wrote down their goals and dreams, and who didn’t.

She discovered that those who wrote down their goals and dreams on a regular basis achieved those desires at a significantly higher level than those who did not. In fact, she found that you become 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. So for those of you that do write down your goals ask yourself these questions:

Do you review them monthly? Do you review them weekly? Do you review them daily?

Why daily? The key is to look at what you are doing on a daily basis to see if it’s aligned with your goals. If it is great, if it’s not then ask yourself, “Should I be doing this?”

So remember, when goal setting – write it!

The second step is goal execution. Fine, so I’ve written my goal down but it’s so big, so overwhelming I just don’t know where to start. As the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.” In 2010, I undertook to run 250 marathons in one year.

Initially, the excitement of the challenge and the fact that I had people join me on the run kept me going. However, after a few months, the excitement and the people disappeared.

It wasn’t so much a physical challenge as a mental one. I was running five marathons a week and by mid-year I was literally running on empty. I remember waking up at 5 a.m. after running four marathons that week. The rain was pounding on the bedroom window on I just wanted to stay in bed, have a cup of tea and read the newspaper. The only way I could face the day was by “Chunking it down” in 10-minute blocks.

I got up and in the first 10 minutes had a tea and breakfast. Then, for the next 10 minutes, I’d go and just dress up in running gear, no harm in that. The rain was still pounding down. Next, I’d get in my car and take a 10-minute drive to where I would start my run. Next was the difficult 10 minutes. I’d then say to myself “Martin just go and run for 10 minutes, if you don’t like it then turn around and come back.”

Well, after 10 minutes I was out there and turning around was not an option. Chunk it down. Use the technique on anything you’re tackling: Blogs, newsletter, cold calls and even writing a book.

So remember. In goal execution – chunk it!

The third step is goal completion. At the end of the day you’ve either successfully completed your goal or you haven’t. One of the hardest things is to take on something and it doesn’t work out.

In 2013, I set a goal of running the Calgary Marathon while attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest time in full lacrosse gear. The purpose being to raise $10,000 for Right To Play. The rules stipulated that it had to be under four hours and I had to wear a helmet, elbow pads, shoulder pads, and gloves while carrying a lacrosse stick and ball.

On race day, the temperature started at 15C and increased to 20C. My black helmet, probably not the best colour, became an oven. I started to overheat and my heart rate went through the roof. Up to the 38 km marker my pace was on target but then the wheels came off. I was dizzy and my legs went to rubber. I crossed the line at four hours 18 minutes and they rushed me into the medical tent.

Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose, I either win or learn.” So what did I learn? Well, it was probably one of the stupidest goals I’ve ever set however from a fundraising point of view it was a success. I think I got a number of “Pity Donations.” The temperature had done me in and there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. Sometimes when you take on something and given it your best shot it still doesn’t work out. The key, accept and move on. That’s why, when we do have successes, it’s so important to celebrate them along the way.

So remember. In goal completion: celebrate it!

In finishing, I want to leave you with three “Its.” In goal setting – write it, in goal Execution – chunk it, and in goal completion – Celebrate it.

If you follow these three steps, then you will be well on your way to having a “finish the race attitude.”



This article was written by Martin Parnell, a keynote speaker, author, 5 time Guinness World Record holder, world class endurance athlete and philanthropist.

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