I have come up with my own rules for success/a happy life, which I share here:
1. Make your own rules
You must come up with your own rules that mean something to you, don’t just copy mine or anyone else’s, be true to yourself – there is no right recipe for success, just the one that means something to you.
2. Acknowledge the situation, but don’t let it define you
Yes you are the only woman in your office, yes you didn’t get your training done and now you’re on a marathon start line, yes the last time you tried this it didn’t work – but move on, move forward and get it done.
Moving feels good. I’m not saying you have to run miles and miles, just stretching your body first thing in the morning, dancing to a song, waving your arms around, sitting down on the floor rather than a chair, going for a walk all feel good. Look at the joy that children get from running around and jumping about – do you remember that? So move. A lot.
People who proudly claim that they haven’t read a book since they finished school scare the hell out of me. Yes, you can learn a lot from watching documentaries on TV or listening to radio 4, but you can get also so much from reading (and it doesn’t have to be books – there are plenty of good blogs and magazines on the internet). Even reading trashy novels (I’m a big fan of John Locke – Goodreads, but I count his novels here!) is just so pleasurable, all those worlds you can just escape to at the drop of a hat, and because you have to work to read rather than passively watching TV, I find you can get more engaged and switch off more easily.
5. Drink water
I do not understand people who don’t drink water.
6. Don’t let the stuff that’s meant to be fun become a chore
I like running, but some days I don’t want to run, so I don’t. I have enough chores and stuff I have to do in life without making something I am supposed to enjoy and do for fun into a chore. Don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s supposed to be your hobby, not a stick to hit yourself with.
7. Say thank you
If someone does something for you, thank them. Thank colleagues, thank strangers, bus-drivers, waiters, just say thank you. And, if you can then also send a thank you note (or, if you have to, an email). Didn’t your mum teach you this when you were little?
From an earlier blog post – sometimes you do have to work hard to get the results that you want – to study and work full-time, to have a career and run a family.
Also from an earlier blog post – you can’t go at it 100% 100% of the time and you shouldn’t feel bad for not doing so! Athletes know they can’t be at their peak year round and they plan around it, we should too.
Also from an earlier blog post – as Henry Ford said:
Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right
You need to have an amount of self-belief before you can achieve anything.
11. Be open to opportunities/ASK
You are very unlikely to have the world handed to you on a plate. You can be content and happy in what you do (or your pace!) and still keep an eye out for opportunities to make progress, develop or broaden your horizons – the two are not mutually exclusive. If there is something you want or are interested in, never be afraid to ask – you may not get it, but it will change how the person you asked perceives you, often in a good way.
12. Be honest or be quiet
Don’t say you agree with something or think something is good if you don’t, just don’t say anything. Remember you can be honest and constructive – praise what was good and give examples were things could be improved or were an improvement on before.
13. All that matters is you keep at it
I tweeted this quote by Runners World columnist because it rang so true to me, and like the best philosophies, it applies as strongly to running as it does to the rest of life:
There will always be runners faster than you, and some slower. All that matters is that you’re in there somewhere…
— Selina Jones (@Psylina) May 2, 2015
…And you’re still trying to beat the guy in front. Paul Tonkinson
— Selina Jones (@Psylina) May 2, 2015
Inspired by Karen’s talk at TEDx Aylesbury last month, I decided to make up some rules of my own. I admit I stole the first two from Karen (how’s that for irony?), but they say something about mimicry being the most sincere form of flattery don’t they?