Be Kind To Yourself

“I screwed up. I had planned to train this morning but didn’t get out of bed in time. I don’t know why I let myself down like this, perhaps I’m just not as motivated as I thought I was”.

Ever had this conversation with yourself?

I bet everyone has, at one point or another.

It turns out that it’s not the failure that lets you down; it’s the way you respond to it.

Let me explain…

Psychological research has discovered a tendency in the human brain known as the “What the Hell – effect”.  The What the Hell effect describes what often takes place subconsciously when we fail to stick to a plan or goal. An example would be the person that is on a diet to lose weight and one day sneaks a chocolate bar. The internal conversation goes something like, “well, I’ve broken my diet, so I may as well eat whatever I want for today / this week / this month and start again later”. In other words “Ah, what the hell, I’ve been bad so I may as well not worry about trying anymore”.

The research tells us that we get far better results in our challenges if we aren’t so hard on ourselves when we fail. A more productive response to ‘falling off the wagon’ is to say, “It’s ok, you slipped up but that happens to everyone from time to time. Now focus on your goals and remember why you wanted to achieve this thing in the first place”.

There are so many things in our lives that can contribute unnecessarily to our stress levels. While stress is largely a controllable factor, a lot of the stress we take on is self-inflicted. The way we read a situation and respond mentally and physically is the result of learned habits. So, if we have the habit of getting stressed or frustrated by things, we can also theoretically build the habit of acceptance and respond with something more appropriate like reflection and renewed determination.

Your mind is by far the most powerful and incredible creation you are ever going to come across. The most amazing thing about it is that you have the ability to control that power and wield it serve your needs.

Wield wisely!


Run long,

Shaun Brewster.


Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Amanda
    4 years ago

    Shaun, no doubt like many people say we always get so much out of your words, you seem to know what to write at the right times.

    A few weeks ago I ran the half marathon in Run Melbourne, I had been training since the beginning of the year and ran the Barossa Half marathon in May in a PB to help get some kilometres. I run 6 days a week, I love running but for some reason this race was different. My head was everywhere, I felt like I couldn\’t run, I lost the ability to be able to put one foot in front of the other, I had monkey brain and just couldn\’t focus, the only thing I could do was doubt my ability to run, this was going to be a long 21.1km.

    I am a seasonal runner, I will be running my second marathon in October. Nine times out of 10 I have good runs but the bad ones well, they really take their toll. Like you say above, I could say \’what the hell with it\’ that\’s it, runnings not for me but I don\’t. I know not all runs are going to be good, some are going to be pretty darn hard but what I must do is learn from these experiences.

    Running should be about enjoyment as well as achieving personal challenges not to mention getting fit. Runnings a physical challenge but more so a mental one. What I have learnt it, I must keep realistic and never let the bad run ruin why I actually run.

    I do have the ability to control the situation and not let it get out of hand. I will continue to read your words for reassurance and motivation. See you out on the road sometime, its great to run.

  2. Shaun
    4 years ago

    Perfect Amanda, you nailed it.
    Running is such a metaphor for life. I think we actually need the \”bad run\” every now and then so that we really appreciate the joy that comes from the good ones.
    The kind of attitude you have will keep your legs rolling over for many years to come.
    Be sure to say hello at the Marathon in October (I\’m assuming it is Melb). I\’ll be there running it with Donna Campisi
    All the best for your training and events and remember you can always contact us for advice or help at any time

    Run long!

  3. Julia
    4 years ago

    I too have had a couple of \’not so good runs\’ where I was forced ro run with \’ my head in my feet\’! I seriously considered giving up running until my wise husband reminded me that even the bad runs can provide you with positives and you can learn so much about yourself through surviving these runs.

    I think I now remind myself to enjoy my running and not to be so hard on myself by recognising those times where I may be a little tired or maybe a little run down and allowing myself to have the occasional slow or not so pleasant run.

  4. Shaun Brewster
    4 years ago

    Hi Julia,
    Yes your husband is very wise and it sounds like you are too.
    Having this attitude of acceptance of the bad times with the good gives you chance to have real longevity in this sport and in everything you apply it to.
    I wish you many of “good” running years ahead!

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