Your deadlines should be inescapable

Committing to something is much easier when there is a inescapable deadline in place

Something that I’ve realised about myself during the Corona virus pandemic is that committing myself to something is much easier when there is a inescapable deadline in place.

Last year I signed up for Iron Man UK which motivated me to research training plans, pick one and most importantly stick to the plan. This lead me to train 6 days a week consistently, yes there was times where I would have a day off but it was always followed by a fear that I wouldn’t be ready for race day which promptly forced me back to training. The thought of not being ready for the race got me out of the door more times than I could count, even if I couldn’t be bothered.

I even signed up to a second (24 hour) gym so I didn’t have the excuse that it was too late to train after procrastinating. Outside of training I was also making great efforts to make sure I was fuelling my body correctly, preparing all my food in advance once a week. The effect on my life really was profound.

Then the corona virus pandemic took hold on the world and as the situation unfolded events I had planned leading up to the big race where postponed, gyms where closed and supermarkets ran out of food. Despite Ironman not officially announcing the postponement of the UK race, for me it’s not happening this year. I had a limited amount of time (1 year) to prepare and everything had to run like clockwork when everything fell to pieces I just didn’t--and still don’t--have the confidence that I’ll be able to complete the race this year even if it goes ahead.

Without having a fast approaching concrete deadline in place the incentive to train, eat well and generally look after myself has quickly deteriorated which is a real shame. It’s so much easier to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” when there isn’t an immediate impact on your life/movement towards your goals. I’m not going to give up training but I now need a lot more willpower to 'get out the door and get it done' which I don’t have all the time.

The silver lining in all this is that I know a little bit more about myself and how to make myself complete the things I want to complete, set an immutable inescapable deadline. The deadline needs to be within a short timeframe in relation to the work required to achieve it and there needs to be a strong punishment when the deadline isn’t met. The result of me not training before Covid-19 was the embarrassment of my family seeing me failing to complete the race which was fire enough for me. In future I know to give myself a deadline that forces me to complete what I set out to do or face the consequences.

© 2021