Mental Health Self-Help

“See life as a marathon and not a race”: Olympic sprinter Ojie Edoburun on New year expectations

As an Olympic GB sprinter, you would expect Ojie Edoburun to be all about focus, challenge and pushing limits. After all, nothing requires dedication quite like training for the Olympics! Having faced his own battles with expectation, Ojie wants you to realise that you don’t have to push yourself too hard to be successful…..

Managing expectations

We can all be guilty of it. The new year comes around and the assumption that a brand-new version of yourself will suddenly appear. Now, it’s great to aspire to be better, but this needs to be balanced with realistic expectations.

As an up and coming young athlete, these are battles I’ve faced over the years.

There’s a misconception of what is expected of me, and how exactly I plan to achieve my goals. Progression is what we all want, but along the way, our perception of where we are at can become jaded.

Consistency is a factor that a lot of people tend to ignore.

I think this is because it can often highlight the harsh reality of a situation. You can say “I was really productive today”, which is great, but how often does this occur? Let’s break it down a bit:

You have six sessions over a month and you work hard for one day a week. That would mean in one month you only gained something valuable for four good sessions out of 24. That isn’t even half of the time. It doesn’t sound impressive because we like to focus on the highlights rather than the catalogue of continuous efforts to be great. Instead of appreciating the small achievements, we turn our attention to what looks good.

The act of comparing yourself to others can be harmful.

So many of us spend the majority of our time comparing our lives and achievements with those around us. There is no correlation in the progress of others and that of your own. The only time we should look at the achievements of other people is to praise them or draw motivation from them. There shouldn’t be an adverse effect. But sadly, we’ve all fallen victim to this bad habit and therefore it’s understandable. But it doesn’t need to continue into the new year!

The best way to view your path to success is to see life as a marathon and not a race. 

Continue at your own pace, be deterred by no-one and the journey will be fruitful. If you don’t do this, there are numerous behaviors that can form from comparing yourself to others.

Lack of appreciation, lack of reflection and evaluation.

Everyone’s journey is completely different and that is what makes us unique. The goals of Usain Bolt compared to a U20 Sprinter will differ massively. But that doesn’t mean one should be discredited or undermined because the value of that goal is subjective to the individual. If we all carried the idea that we are inferior, and our goals aren’t big enough we would stay stagnant. Having an appreciation for how far you’ve come can only grow your confidence and self-belief. What’s more, you know where you’re going next.

The reality is that Rome wasn’t built in a day and success doesn’t happen overnight, or when the bell rings midnight and it’s 01/01/2018.

My tips to help you in 2018 would be;

  • Take things one step at a time
  • Focus on yourself
  • Appreciate the small wins before the big ones come
  • Have a balance of aspirations and reality
  • Make time to reflect on how far you’ve come

Keep up with Ojie:

Twitter: @ojie_edoburun
Instagram: @ojie.edoburun

Image credit: British Athletics