This week I have been thinking a lot about the saying “Control the controllables”. There are times when I spend an enormous amount of energy worrying about how something will come about, or happen, or what it will be like, what could go wrong, what could go right, etc. Even writing about all the things I worry about and try to control in the above sentence is exhausting, so it is incredibly exhausting when I am constantly thinking about it and trying to control the future. I am just wasting my energy worrying about the future and not living in the moment.
So, instead of wasting my energy on future situations or problems that may never even occur, I try to focus on the “now”. So, instead of saying to myself “what IF”, I say, “what IS” and that helps me stay in the present moment. When I focus to much on the “what if’s” it takes the enjoyment out of the day, it creates stress, it tires me out. But more importantly, it takes away my focus during the day, which in turn can hurt my long-term goals.
For example, playing field hockey in college or any fall sport, you begin pre-season in early August. However, you leave campus for summer break at the beginning of May. If you decide to stay home for the summer and not go back for a summer session, you are at home training for about three months. Three months is a long time to be away from the intensity of the weight room, encouragement of teammates, your normal field, training room, conditioning sessions, etc. It is a challenge to replicate the intensity when you are a young athlete.
I would be so stressed about going back in August for the fitness test and not being prepared. I would be saying to myself “What if I don’t perform as well as I am expected to”, “What if I don’t pass and can’t practice or play in games and my teammates are frustrated with me” or “What if I am not training as intensely as I should be?”
Trying to control what WILL happen on the day of the fitness test in August, caused me to spend more time and energy worrying about the fitness test, 2-3 months away from the current moment, rather than just focusing on the training session in front of me. I started to realize that my stress about August was controllable right now and if I controlled this moment, then I would not have to worry about August.
What that means is that on Monday I focused solely on Monday’s training session. I focused, made it intense, and did the BEST I could that day and refused to let myself down. Monday turned to Tuesday turned to Wednesday etc. By the time August rolled around, I had 3 months of single day intensity and focus in my training. I controlled what I could, which was each singular day of training. Each day of intense training helped build my confidence and preparation going into the fitness test in August. In order to gain control over the outcome of my fitness test in August, I controlled what I could in the present moment.
Moral of the story is that in June, there was no sense in trying to control all the good or bad things or “WHAT IF’S” that could happen on August 9th or whatever the date is of the fitness test. All I could control, was that day, was that training session, was my focus and intensity and the “WHAT IS” in front of me each day. When I controlled the what is and held myself accountable to being present and performing at my best, I ultimately did end up controlling the outcome of my fitness test come August. But, I no longer let it debilitate me.
This can be applied to anything you want in life. If it is eating well for 3 months or saving a certain amount of money by a specific date. Sometimes the end goal, can be overwhelming and create a feeling of helplessness. However, if you focus on eating well today or focus on saving money today, and then tomorrow you focus on the same thing. Eventually the days pass by and you get to the date you wanted to accomplish your goal by and because you focused solely on one day at a time, you achieved your goal.