Finding your new normal

Photo courtesy of Sakeeb Sabakka (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Sakeeb Sabakka (Creative Commons)

I have been running for years now, and had settled into a pace that rarely varied. I have a set route that I run, I knew where my mile markers are, and I knew pretty much what time I would hit at each of those markers – and it was not very fast. It felt comfortable, and since I have asthma and did not want to risk triggering breathing difficulties, it felt safe.

Of course there were times when I might push myself to go faster, but mostly, I just took it slow and easy. I run a 5-mile route, and while maybe one or two miles might be quicker, overall, I kept a pretty consistent time.

But recently, I’ve begun pushing myself harder. I was actually a bit surprised the first time I did it because I was able to sustain the speed through the whole run. I was a little shocked at my time, to be honest, but figured it was a fluke, and the next day would be back to normal. I doubted my abilities.

But it wasn’t a fluke. It was possible.

The next day I tried pushing myself again – and then the next day – and I ended up with personal best times nearly every day for a week. I did a longer run that weekend and while the whole thing wasn’t as fast as those shorter runs, it was significantly quicker than a typical 10-miler.

Now several weeks have gone by, and I’m realizing that this speed is the new normal for me. I’ve gotten stronger, and best of all, I’ve figured out how to even out my breathing, so I’m able to sustain the speed and not become so winded. I’m more confident in my capabilities, and I am getting used to the new pace.

I think it’s important to do that in other areas of our lives as well. As we take on new challenges at work or have to deal with things in our personal lives, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and out of breath. The tendency is to doubt our abilities to sustain the new pace, and then scramble around trying to get it done, which just perpetuates the perception that it’s impossible.

What I find works best is to slow down and focus on finding ways to streamline where I can, delegate where I should, and come up with a plan to get the new things done. Then I can start believing in my skills and abilities and moving forward to accomplish what I need to. Before long, like with the running, I am stronger and more confident, and can sustain the new pace. I can maintain the new normal.

How do you need to become more confident to sustain a new normal in your life?