Don’t fight the course, work with the course.

Monthly review: don’t fight the course

Don’t fight the course, work with the course.

I love a good running analogy and this post is pretty much just one big running analogy! I get so much from my running both physically and mentally. The experience of pushing through workouts I find really tough while painful and not fun at the time do actually serve me well. Yes, I get fitter from it but I can also take away from it that I can do hard things and can take that confidence into other areas of my life.

In July, I put my training to the test and ran a marathon with the intent of trying to beat my previous personal best I set almost seven years ago. It wasn’t the perfect lead-up with Melbourne in lockdown for a couple of weeks and then the Tuesday before I was due to run the Gold Coast Marathon, Gold Coast went into lockdown and the event was canceled.

I was lucky enough to find a local marathon a week later that I could run. The course was certainly not the flat, fast Gold Coast track I had been imagining throughout my training. It was laps of Princes Park with a 1km leg out and back to make it a 5km loop in total. The 1km out and back was over rolling hills and I would have to do this 8 times. I was a little nervous about this section and asked my coach for advice on how to approach it. His advice was simple and spot-on:

Don’t fight the course, work with the course.

It is tempting to try and keep pace when running up hills but doing so uses up a lot of energy. Doing this 8 times could have seriously derailed my race – I would have been fighting the course. I took my coach’s advice and aimed for consistent effort over the uphills and pushed it on the downhills – I worked with the course. And this approach was certainly one of the elements that helped me set a new PB!

I took this approach with other things in July too. We went back into lockdown again and I could have fought against the changes this requires me to make but I decided to simply work with it. I didn’t try to keep to my standard morning routine as it would have caused frustration (for me!) and used up plenty of mental energy. Instead, I worked with the circumstances I had and went with the flow of our lockdown days, and moved some of my activities around to ensure this worked with the kids home.

I love plans and routines but they are always just a guide as to how I want things to go. As circumstances change, they need to change too. If your circumstances are changing at the moment and they are outside your control, try working with what you have, not fighting it and wanting it to be different than what it is. It will save you plenty of energy and probably your sanity too!

July monthly review

HabitConnection to goal - Do the inner work to be able to give more to those around me.Quote - “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - Carl JungJuly Review
Meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutesI have been meditating for a number of years now, but lately it is often left to the end of the day and I listen to a guided meditation before I go to sleep.

To reap the real benefits of meditation I want to practice in the first half of the day, non guided and for a minimum of 20 minutes. In this time emotions, feelings and issues will come up and I will need to learn to not react to it, simply observe it and focus on the meditation session.
“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” - J. Donald Walters
I did meditate every day but often it wasn't until late in the day. During lockdown I find it hard to do meditate in the morning with everyone home. I found after lunch was a much better time so flowed with what worked best.

While I have meditation listed here as a habit, I realise that meditation isn't actually something that you can make habitual. You can make it routine and you can practice each day .

A habit is a recurrent, often unconscious action - meditation is a deeply conscious action!

Participate in a weekly faith based activityI have a strong personal faith but feel that it needs a recharge and refresh. Immersing myself in more faith based activities will help me achieve this and to examine my spirituality at a deeper level.“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” - Khalil GibranI got behind for two weeks with my daily reading at the start of the month but worked hard to catch up by the end of the month. Now that I have built a small daily habit which is something for myself, I will start next month volunteering an hour a week for something that is bigger than myself which I am really looking forward to.
Write in a gratitude journal dailyFor some reason I stopped my gratitude journal process in the latter half of 2020 and I have noticed its absence. Part of my journal entry in the evening is to note down how I could have made the day even better. Reflecting each day on how I can improve is an important part of doing the inner work.“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” - Christina Baldwin
I fell off this habit for two weeks in July - the same time as I did for the above activity, which makes complete sense as I have stacked these habits. I have put in place some measures that will hopefully prevent this from occurring again, even if I get behind with the activity it is stacked with.
Learn and speak Phil's love language well and dailyI read The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago and loved the concept. For some reason I never got Phil to do the quiz and work out his love language. I will re-read the book and get us both to do the quiz .

I will then focus on making sure I am speaking Phil's love language on a daily basis.
“Love is a choice you make everyday.” - Gary ChapmanAs I have noted over the last few months, I now see this habit more than just learning Phil's love language. It also means being truly present, listening intently and being conscious of my own behaviour and triggers.

I have been listening to some audiobooks to help me understand more about my own behaviour which I am finding very helpful.