Onipa’a was the theme for the 2015 Kona Triathlon Ironman Championship.
This Hawaiian word means to remain steadfast, resilient and resolute and to remember and embrace what you have learned throughout the journey of life.
I learned about Onipa’a while in Hawaii cheering for my husband, Jeff, who raced in this Ironman.
Although I have participated in other Ironman competitions, there is nothing like Ironman Kona. It is the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit. The tough course, the remarkable fitness of the athletes and the exuberance of the volunteers are surreal.
If you are looking for motivation, I invite you to watch the 2015 Ironman Championship on YouTube. The level of commitment of the athletes, volunteers and families is amazing.
These athletes were resilient and resolute and performing at their fullest.
As I learn from them, I am continuing to share some of their keystone habits, to help you perform optimally and live life to its fullest.
Make the land of nod a priority
Sleep is a keystone habit, because it plays a critical role in our hormonal balance, emotional health, critical learning, appetite regulation, immune protection and many others functions.
If we sleep well, we wake up refreshed, naturally energized and can perform at our best without stimulants like caffeine, sugar or alcohol.
Given the current research on the importance of sleep, skimping on this important function is a bad strategy for dealing with the demands of daily life.
To improve your sleep, consider these: Go to bed and wake up at about the same time (including weekends); no caffeine after 2 p.m.; take power naps; disconnect and go outside for an easy walk after dinner; develop a bedtime ritual; light scented candles (lavender is known to promote a sound sleep); and listen to soft music or read a paperback book before going to sleep.
Start keeping a journal
Journaling is beneficial to your sleep, health and mind. Research shows that 15 to 20 minutes of journaling three to five times a week can help us manage stress and achieve our goals.
It has also been found to help with lawyering skills, such as processing and communicating complex ideas more effectively, memorizing important information and being more creative.
To add journaling to your life, consider writing for five minutes in the morning to focus your day and five minutes in the evening to learn and memorialize great moments in your life.
To journal, I have used the apps Day One and the Five Minute Journal and currently use Evernote. The key is to get started.
Thrive and grow from challenges
When faced with an unfamiliar or challenging situation, we tend to procrastinate and put the challenge off.
We perform small tasks and busy work that might make us feel productive, but prevent us from completing our most important tasks, which leads to increased stress.
Instead, learn to take on obstacles and adversity. Focus and challenge yourself to do at least one difficult thing every morning.
For example, if you need to work on a brief, work on it for 30 minutes before you do anything else — no checking emails, surfing the net, checking social media or other distractions.
If you want to complete a triathlon, start dedicating 30 minutes every day to running, swimming or biking. Triathlons are not for everyone, but they have become a very important part of my life.
I do not love all three disciplines. In fact, I have to work at motivating myself to swim. But, the challenge and the variety of the sport keeps me inspired and makes the training enjoyable and possible.
I also love the camaraderie among triathletes, their remarkable internal drive and laser focus on goals. I continuously learn from these superb athletes who do not mind sharing their strategies to succeed and embrace the journey of life.
Originally published in the Jax Daily Record