Be More Tortoise: Confessions of a reformed Hare

Hello, I’m Hanna and I thought I would preface my first blog with a quick “How’d you do?” I’m very excited to be part of the Psychologies Ambassadors, the Life Leap Club and the Psychologies online community. I'm so happy we’re building a supportive and caring network together and I can’t wait to see what adventures unfold over the next twelve months. So - without further ado, let’s get cracking:

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It’s the first week of 2017 and the gym is packed – I mean really chocca.  I arrive, sporting my new gym kit (complete with misjudged sweatband) and I’m ready, like the other New Year’s resolutionists, to get fit in 2017.  The session seems to go well.  I run really fast on the treadmill for five minutes, I work out how to adjust the spinning bike seat so my feet touch the pedals and I even dared to sidle over to the weights section…where I watched a lot of people using weights.

 Fast forward to June and perhaps not surprisingly, my resolution hadn’t continued as I thought.  In fact, it hadn’t continued at all.  Hmm. 

 As I reflected why things hadn’t quite worked out, the old fable of The Tortoise and the Hare came to my mind.  The story of a race run by two very different characters: the hare (super fast, constantly comparing himself to others) and the tortoise (slow, steady and persistent).  Of course, the tortoise wins the race.  It was then I realised - I was the hare!  When I broke things down, this is what I discovered:

  • I was trying to do too much too fast – which meant I stopped, rather than persisted.
  • I had focused on what I thought I should be doing, rather than what I wanted to achieve and why I wanted to achieve it.
  • I had been too vague and unrealistic about my goals – so I lost motivation quickly.

In the story, Torty knew what she wanted to achieve, she knew how to pace herself and she knew how to get to the finish line.   She kept putting one foot in front of the other and ultimately, that’s how she succeeded.  I resolved there and then: I was going to be more tortoise from then on.

6 months of 2017 had passed and I couldn’t get those back, but I still had 6 months of the year left and I could do something about that.  So, after taking stock, I took action.  I considered my goals in detail and what steps I’d take to get there.  I popped my kit back on (minus the sweatband), chugged down to the gym and was instantly struck by something: hardly anyone else was there.  Perhaps I hadn’t been the only one to fall into the “hare trap”.  For all of us that have a tendency to do this, it is worth bearing the following in mind:

  • Have an internal purpose – the motivation and intent needs to come from within to be sustainable.
  • Know what your goal is – be specific.
  • Keep taking small steps everyday towards your goal – one foot in front of the other.
  • Go at your pace.   (You can still push yourself).
  • Find mentors to guide you – in my case, I found some great teachers at my gym classes.
  • Learn from your mistakes, celebrate your successes along the way and crucially – enjoy the journey. 

Now, at the start of 2018 I decide to create a different story.   Instead of hitting the reset button at New Year, I reflect on what I’m already working towards and consider in depth any new goals I wish to pursue.  Applying a slow but sure principle (most of the time – I’m not perfect!) helps this reformed hare get to where she wants to go.

Thanks for dropping by!  While you’re here, do check out the other Psychologies Ambassadors blogs.  Full of useful info, ideas and tips, and written by a group of amazing individuals - they’re well worth a read.