Learning Persistence on Process from Olympians

February 13, 2018 in Health, Uncategorized, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

We’ve been enjoying the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea; I must confess/brag that our interest is heightened this year because our grandson Brendan (Bubba) Connor Newby is skiing in the half pipe for Ireland where he was born. Watching the Olympics makes us ask lots of questions. How do you steer the sled in the luge? How does an ice skater increase the spin speed? Those are two that we’ve answered. Much of the time we’re just in awe that it’s possible to do what the Olympians do so seemingly effortlessly.

Now I know, that you know, that most Olympic athletes have been training for years, but knowing that much time (and money) has been dedicated to Brendan’s skiing, has given me a closer look to what’s involved. And it has given a perspective that links to nutrition and health that I’ll share today.

I frankly know nothing of skiing other than being a spectator. What I do know is that the Olympian focuses on the process not on the medal or prize. The Olympian must keep his mind focused on exactly what he/she is doing – not on standing on the platform. It must become automatic, because “thinking about it” too much can lead to mistakes. But you have to respond instantly with just the right body movements that are a part of a process initially learned and finally done “in the flow”.

Weight management is somewhat the same. Now I’m not saying that it’s not fun or even temporarily motivating to focus on the new slim you that lives in your fantasy world. But what is going to get you where you want to be and sustain you in your effort to stay there is focusing on the process to make it automatic, then reaping joy in the attainments along the way.

This all relates to my recent writings about “better is the new perfect.” I think the Olympic metaphor works well here. Olympians learn then practice the movement, over, and over, and over, and over….. That’s how better becomes the new perfect.

  • Spend some time thinking about what the processes are that might get you to the goal you desire. Forget about the goal. Keep your eye on the ball as they say. What processes can you tweak to improve your eating habits? What substitutions can you make to improve your menus? Ask yourself questions like this and when you’ve decided on some processes to start on, keep your focus there – forget about the goal. Just obsessively focus on the process. Honestly, what happens, is that fixing the processes that influence weight management, end up delivering the goal. But you just don’t spend your energy or thinking time focused on the goal.

Ozan Varol, a law professor at Lewis and Clark School of Law in Portland, Oregon, says; “A process-focused mind is the mark of anyone who has achieved anything extraordinary.

Varol also says; “Amateurs focus on goals – professionals care about process.” I think the Olympics make that very clear. But certainly we can all benefit by this knowledge. Get our heads straight and keep our focus on the process.