Personal bests and PB’s – what are you striving for?

The past two and a bit weeks have been exciting, exhilarating, tearful, stressful and most of all extremely lacking in the sleep department. You may recognise these things in yourself if you have been following the journey of our Australian athletes (or your own country) achieving their personal bests in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

I love watching all the sports but for me some of them are extra special because some of the athletes competing have worked with me over the past 4-8 years. I have found myself holding my breath a lot, jumping up and down and screaming at the TV in every waking moment. No matter what the sport, it is hard not to urge on every single athlete out there who are doing their utmost to achieve their own personal bests when they have worked so hard and for so long to get to this international stage.

Of course, every athlete has their eye on the ultimate prizes – bronze, silver and gold with each countries success inevitably measured by the number and type of medals they win.

My three kids were glued to the TV right next to me, just in case they missed any demonstration of athletic skill and courage. This was a real fear, especially with the sprint events that are over in the blink of an eye! It was the perfect opportunity to talk to them about winning, losing and simply trying their best. They watched the joy, elation, disappointments, devastations and missed opportunities that come with elite sport and recognised the same emotions they experience in the grass roots sports they participate in. A valuable reminder to them all that winning is most certainly not everything.

As the Olympic Creed states, “The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Many of our athletes achieved their personal bests. Imagine pole vaulting a height you have never conquered before, being the first Australian in 40 years to make the final of the 1500m track event or even qualifying for the Olympics for the very first time. All incredible achievements from athletes competing in fields of the best of the best and where races are won by teeny tiny fractions of seconds.

Watching those finely tuned athletes celebrate and acknowledge their personal bests got me thinking about how we do or perhaps don’t recognise our own personal bests in our everyday lives.

Lets face it, looking after your health and well-being is an ongoing job and one that requires dedication and discipline, which quite honestly at times can be rather testing and difficult. When was the last time that you congratulated yourself for eating a healthy breakfast or getting up to exercise on the dark, cold winter mornings or racking up five serves of vegetables in a day or keeping your productivity high by staying hydrated? I’m betting almost never.

We are so much better at criticising ourselves for NOT doing things like only eating one piece of fruit today or missing one exercise session in a week or not being able to resist one little piece of chocolate, rather than focusing on the positive actions that we take.
Think about the ways in which you can note and acknowledge your personal bests each week:

  1. What are you measuring? Get really clear about what this is for you – is it eating less salt, more fibre, daily breakfast or more water? Put some numbers next to your targets so that you know when you hit them.
  2. Take stock each week – use some weekend time to reflect on what you have achieved rather than what you have not. High fives all round if you tallied up some personal bests or if not, think about what you could alter to get them nailed next week.
  3. Get visual – I love a good list or chart and they are perfect for showing me where I am up to and what I have completed especially when looking at racking up ticks for good sleep, consistent exercise or eating well.

Focusing on the positives along with your small and not so small achievements will always propel you towards your own personal bests – don’t let them slip by unnoticed.

Are we there yet?

The past two and a bit weeks have been exciting, exhilarating, tearful, stressful and most of all extremely lacking in the sleep department.  You may recognise these things in yourself if you have been following the journey of our Australian athletes (or your own country) in the London 2012 Olympics.  These Olympics have been a bit different to the others for me, because I have assisted 10 of the athletes competing for Australia with their daily, weekly and monthly food intake and nutrition for training and competition. I have found myself holding my breath a lot and screaming at the TV in every waking moment.  They are not my children but I desperately want them to do well and achieve their own personal goals when they have worked so hard and for so long to get to this international stage.  To me it doesn’t matter whether they have won bronze, silver or gold.  Despite what we hear in the media, what matters is that they have done their absolute best on that particular day with whatever circumstances present themselves. There have been disappointments, devastations and missed opportunities but they are all part of elite sport and many will pick themselves up and carry on for the next four years. These athletes carry the weight of their own and others expectations of themselves and for a very entertaining look at how many parents feel about this check out this video taken by NBC camera’s during the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. We are talking about athletes competing in a field of the best of the best and where races are won by fractions of seconds.  Sally Pearson crossed the line in the 100m hurdles only 0.02 of a second in front of her rivals, yet every moment in the previous four years counted toward that gold medal. Imagine having that passion, dedication and discipline and belief in our own health and well-being.

Get Better at Skippy

At the beginning of this year my 7 year old daughter posted a note on the fridge. It simply said ‘The gool for this week is to get beta at skipey.” It was Week One of Term One so I overlooked the spelling but the interpreted version is “The goal for this week is to get better at skipping.” We are talking about a kid that could barely get over the rope but desperately wanted to follow in her sisters footsteps.  From the minute that goal was posted on the fridge it seemed that every time I looked at Miss 7, she had a skipping rope in her hands. Now, smack in the middle of Term 2, this girl can do 90 consecutive skips over the rope at a cracking pace. Continue reading “Get Better at Skippy”