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Focus on the Process Not the Prize

This week I am reminding myself to be patient. I have a little bit of an elbow tendon thing that I have been trying to ignore-and that means I have been doing things that aggravate it just enough that it prevents me from doing things I really want to do. And now it is getting real because golf season is right around the corner.

This little overuse soreness (I am not calling it an injury) reminds me that sometimes giving 110% does not mean lifting the heaviest weight, doing the most reps, running the fastest splits, getting the biggest stretch and trying to be the best at everything all the time. Giving 110% means giving your full and complete attention to the task at hand and whatever it is you are doing-honoring the process.

This week I am going to bring my attention back to the process:

  • of warming up sufficiently-just because you have gone through your warmup routine does not mean your body is warmed up enough to complete the task; pay attention to your body and how you feel
  • of performing each move with intention and focus, paying attention to the details and nuances of position- I am trying to remember to breathe and visualize before each set; trying to imagine what it is supposed to feel like and look like
  • of focusing on the movement in each routine-where is your mind? If you are thinking about lunch, or a conversation you are overhearing then you are not paying attention to your body and how it is moving.
  • of giving 110% effort to the process-it does not have to be perfect, there is no prize for a perfect squat or deadlift; there is always somebody that is better than you


Goals are great! I love having goals that help keep me motivated and focused on progress, but for many of us focusing on the process will do more to help you accomplish your goals than focusing on the prize.

Focusing on process at the gym translates to the treadmill, track, road and trail as well. I finally realized although I love the competition of races, I will never be a world class runner in my age group, and that is ok. I may never even really improve my speed over time, and that is ok, too. The prize for me is that I can run in a 5k, 10k or half marathon race if I want to and do pretty well. I enjoy running and working on my running fitness. It is a process. I may or may not ever win a prize. To only focus on the prize could mean a lifetime of disappointment, and I enjoy running too much to let it be all about the prize.

Here’s a great blog post I read last week that shares how I feel:

Running for fun and being dedicated to goals and dreams are not mutually exclusive

So here’s to a week of giving it 110% no matter what you are doing, but of focusing on how you are doing it, not on trying to be the best. Give it your best, but remember it’s about the process and not the prize.



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