How to avoid being ‘obsessively obsessive’ when pursuing endurance goals

Endurance runners have one thing in common: we’re all incredibly driven to achieve our goals. Succeeding over long distances requires a degree of mental focus – the kind that gets you through pain, obstacles and adversity.

But how do we maintain a sense of perspective on life, yet also pursue these massive goals? Is it possible to find a balance, and avoid becoming ‘obsessively obsessive’, to the detriment of those around us?

I’m not a professional runner. I’m a husband, father, and busy professional – to name a few of my roles. I’m guessing that goes for most of us. It’s about finding a way to keep that balance, without becoming a ‘fitness bore’ or letting anything slip.

Here’s what I do – give it a go:

  1. Find 30 minutes you can completely dedicate to the task, and switch off your phone
  2. Write down all the key ‘stakeholders’ (to borrow a business term) in your life: anyone who relies on you, is close to you, influences you at work, or who depends on your role to do their own jobs
  3. Now add more people to that list – anyone who you care about in a broader sense. Where I live, I regularly buy a Big Issue from the same seller, and find it humbling how a small thing can be met with such gratitude
  4. Imagine you’re having an out of body experience, looking down on yourself from a distance
  5. Replay some recent events from your life and give yourself a score between 1 and 8 (with 8 being the ‘best you’)
  6. Keep a score and reflect on whether you’re so focused on pursuing your own goals that you might have missed an opportunity to be a better you.

Remember, this isn’t about beating yourself up. I use the time to simply check-in with myself and ask: am I becoming ‘obsessively obsessive’ or is there a good balance?

I’d love to know how you get on – leave me a comment below or email

This is part of my ‘Super Fit @ 50’ challenge! I’m trying to become a faster, leaner and meaner endurance runner in my 50s – as well as gaining more energy for the important things in life. If you’re embarking on your own Super Fit journey, I’d highly recommend building in the above 30-minute obsession check-in.

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