On the trail, and in daily life, we face obstacles. At The New Basis personal training studio in Los Gatos, we help men and women daily in their fight to conquer their obstacles and achieve their goals. I recently had an entire weekend with the Trek Dirt Series and learned so much about riding! Even more importantly, I got to practice conquering obstacles (over and over) and learn about myself in a profound way.
Where do obstacles come from? Sometimes obstacles jump out and surprise us, and sometimes they start out small and get bigger and bigger as we get closer. Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on the obstacle, the bigger it gets? The more times you attempt and fail, the larger the obstacle seems. The bigger the obstacle, the less conquerable it becomes, right? My nemeses on the mountain bike have always been switchbacks and uphill obstacles like rocks and roots. I went into the weekend mountain biking camp with a hope that I'd learn something about them and get a little bit better. A hope . . . but my expectations were pretty low and my belief that I'd conquer them were even lower. Why? Because of all the times I heard how to navigate them, tried to follow the instructions, doubted my abilities . . . and failed.
How many times have you lost weight and gained it back? How many times have you started a restrictive diet and couldn't follow through after a few days or weeks? How many exercise programs have you ordered online because "this one looks different"? How many times have you been "all in" and just couldn't make it happen? Wished things would be different, this time? I've been there! With switchbacks, rocks and roots on trails, house cleaning, weight loss, eating healthier, exercising more, etc. When we're stuck in this mode where all we can think about is the negative, the obstacle, it's really hard to conquer it or make a lasting change, once and for all.
Here's a little advice:
1) Decide what you want! Be specific. When I went to Dirt Series in Los Gatos, I wanted to be more confident on the bike ~ to love riding. In order to make that happen, I knew I had to figure out how to navigate switchbacks, pick good singletrack lines and handle those uphill obstacles. I mostly was able to conquer my fears with phenomenal education, support and lots of practice (both at messing up and doing it right). Sometimes situations take lots of analysis to figure out how to successfully navigate. Other times, like on the trail, you only have time for a quick, honest look before you must decide how you're going to get through it and then execute in a matter of seconds.
2) Focus on where you want to go! Want to make a change? It's important that you create and hold a vision of what you want, where you want to go. Know it, study it, make it happen! On a switchback, you look at the apex (corner), and once you find it, you look for the exit (where to put the bike). If you stare at the apex (problem) the whole time, you'll go right into it and never get out the other side. Stuck on the obstacle. The only chance of success, of making it to your goal on the other side of the switchback, is to shift focus to your exit (goal). When you don't, there are consequences. Sometimes they are small, like riding outside of "switchback" ropes on grass hills. Sometimes large - falling off of skinnys and taking a hard fall onto your shoulder and shin. And those times you can get out of your head, even for a moment, you can see success and choose to do the right things to get you to advice number 3.
3) Make it happen! Learn what you need to learn. Make a plan and commit to your line. Stay the course. Sometimes it takes baby steps to stay the course. Sometimes it takes massive action and herculean efforts. The more I practice my new skills, the better and stronger I become. And so do you. You are capable! Let me tell you something. Your obstacles are ALL surmountable, in one way or another! Ride fast, ride slow, put a foot down to help you get through it, walk over it or walk around it. Get out of your head, try and try again. Do whatever it takes, find a way, MAKE it happen!
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