When it comes to your training, not everything will go to plan, sometimes it may seem like hardly anything is going to plan, but don’t think that’s any different for everyone else. Everyone has problems, everyone has set-backs. Some are small, some are huge, but EVERYONE has set-backs. Sometimes it can feel like everything is going wrong for you, whilst other people around you don’t appear to be having the same problems. The truth is, they may not be having the same problems as you, but I promise you they will be experiencing some other problems or setbacks. EVERYONE has set-backs.

When you look at great achievements in sport, from grass roots all the way up to world class level, don’t just look at the end result. What’s often hidden are all the failures people had on the way to getting there, the setbacks, and the problems they had to overcome.

What separates one individual from another is not whether they had to overcome set-backs of whether they had a clean run (no one has a clean run). What separates sports people is the way in which they respond to the setbacks, you’re either an excuse maker, an improviser or often a blend of both.

An excuse maker only requires the slightest sniff of a setback to prevent them from completing the training session they were going to do. On the flip-side it doesn’t matter how many set-backs are put in some people’s paths, they won’t be stopped in making the best they possibly can out of the situation. A set-back may mean a planned session just isn’t possible, but to improvise and do the best version you can is a lot better than just scrapping it all together.

Imagine you get kicked out of the gym half way through your session because there is a power cut. The excuse maker goes home, the improviser goes outside and uses a park bench to replicate the gym exercises they were going to be doing in the gym.

Here’s another one, you get a puncture half way through a turbo session (yes this happens). The excuse maker calls it a day, telling themselves it was out of their control and that the half of the session they did do was good. The improviser carries on regardless, yes cadence changes, yes power suffers, but they complete the session the best they can.

It’s ok to make excuses now and then, but if we make them all the time then they add up to a hell of a lot. The reality is, if you’ve got a busy work and/or family life then there are going to be a lot of obstacles in your path. You can either improvise, and work around them the best you can, or you can sack it off all together.

A set-back could be significant, one so big that it means your original goals are no longer possible, but even with the most major setback an improviser will re-align their goals to something that, through hard work, is still achievable.  Everyone is capable of achieving great things.

With so much of people’s pre-audited lives being posted of social media (they only show you what they want you to see), it can be easy to assume that other people aren’t having setbacks like you are. This just isn’t true!

If you have a goal you want to achieve, remember, EVERYONE has set-backs. The next time you come up against a problem, you’ll be much happier with yourself if you improvise and do the best you can, than you will be if you give up all together.

Dan Small, Mountain Goat Coaching

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