Patience is the ability to wait calmly in the face of adversity and frustration. Running rewards consistent and progressive training over extended time. If you improve your patience, you will improve your running.
Lately I’ve found myself thinking, “if everything would just hurry up, I’d have better patience.”
I love working towards goals, but lately I haven’t been so good at it. I want my running to be at a higher level. Stuff around the house I want finished. I wish our next holiday was now. So many things I want now. Just chasing the end product has gotten in the way of doing the work needed to achieve the goals. Instead I’ve managed to develop habits in procrastination.
Chasing small tasks may give a quick outcome but don’t add much to my bigger goals.
This needed to change.
It is time to develop positive habits. Getting in the way of this lately has been a lack of patience. Which led me to look at how to improve my patience. There is some good science on this. In this post I summarise what I have found and what I aim to put into place. Continue on to improve your patience. It will likely improve your running too.
Why Improve Patience?
Improving patience has been shown to improve sense of well-being, positive coping virtues and thriving. In simpler language this is:
- Feel better
- Cope better
- Achieve more
Is Patience Trainable?
Like your body, you can also train your mind.
How To Improve Patience
Turns out it comes back to some regular practice. Just like in training the physical aspects of any skills. Research is suggesting 2 key ways:
You can increase your willpower with practice.
By repeatedly putting yourself in situations where you are required to have patience you can extend out your threshold of frustration. Those who are used to waiting are better at it.
Start small. Take multiple opportunities to practice patience. Put yourself in situations where you have to wait a little longer. Choose the longer queue at the shops. Wait for someone to catch up to you. Arrive early for an appointment. Use a slow internet connection. While waiting make a concerted effort to relax. Breath slowly. Keep a good posture.
Repeating these small moment of calmly exerting some willpower can become a habit. You become accustomed to remaining calm and controlling your impulses. You can improve your willpower.
Reduce your reliance on willpower. Reframe your thinking with your imagination. Make it easier to have patience. Imagination can change the impulse to take on the immediate reward by changing how we view the reward. As a result won’t need to rely as much on willpower.
Vividly imagining the end outcome makes it easier to maintain patience. The clearer and more realistic you can picture the end result the better. Add in detail. The more the better. Picture why it is worth waiting for the end result. Why is it better than taking on the immediate. Create a positive feeling around the ultimate result you want. Imagination the negative feeling and negative result of not maintaining your patience. The stronger the difference between a positive and clear view of what you want versus an giving in to an easier alternative, the more likely you are to stick with it.
The further away your goal the harder this is to clearly visualise. Longer time frames limit your imagination and reduce the strength of your vision.
There is a way around this.
Don’t limit your imagination to the end result. Bring it forward and visualise positive steps along the way. Create a sequence leading to your end goal. Take the same approach as above. Add detail. Work on creating a positive feeling around each step. This will make your vision more powerful and more likely to alter your impulses. Making it easier to choose patience and reducing your reliance on willpower alone.
Good things come to those who work for it and have patience. So hurry up and improve your patience.