Commitment. Conviction. Greek Style.

My hats off to professional athletes like Hilary Stellingwerff for their commitment and conviction to their sport and profession.

I had a taste of the effort and pressure involved in training. I continue to train for my marathon in a few weeks. This takes commitment each week to plan in my walks and stay motivated to do them despite other things interfering. (I’d appreciate any donations to Cancer Research at That commitment was challenged when I had a week away in Greece for a friend’s wedding. The wedding celebrations spanned 3 days – lots of food, drink and fun. All of this against the backdrop of a very hot and very sunny Greek coastline.

The weekend of the wedding I had two training walks on the schedule – a 3 mile hill workout and an 18 mile steady walk. The first would take just over an hour given the only suitable hill I found was a 500 angled one and the latter would take over 5 hours assuming I could find a safe walking area (not a trail beside the major roadway). When I was talking to the other guests about plans for the weekend I mentioned my walks. I was immediately met with doubt and dismissal – there’s no way that’s going to happen with the party plans for this weekend and with our desire to include you they said!

The Friday night of my arrival was a late dinner and clubbing until 4am. Needless to say I did not get the hill workout done in the early morning as planned. At least with this short workout it gave me options during the day. Instead I did it Saturday early evening to recover from the night (morning?) before by sleeping in and then to avoid the hot sun of the afternoon. I got it done with enough time to stretch, shower and change for the earlier 9pm dinner that night.

Saturday night was much quieter, a nice dinner overlooking the bay until only 1am. It would have been easy to succumb to the invites of going out after dinner as some of the guests were doing.  There were some pleas to disregard my training “it’s a wedding.” My conviction to my training made it a no-brainer to say no and retire to my room. That decision allowed me to get up at 7am and start walking before the heat of the day emerged. I found a shaded neighbourhood and walked and walked and walked, much to the amusement of a couple of older Greek men who watched me as they drank coffee for 3 hours. I finished the walk, stretched, join some of the other guests for lunch and a swim in the bay before showering and getting ready for the wedding. The wedding and reception were fun – the foreigners closed the party after 5am. And I still did the easy Monday walk, albeit later in the day.

It was easy to say NO to fun invitations when I was saying YES to my bigger goal of training properly to feel good during the marathon. Commitment and conviction kept me working towards my goal despite outside pressure.

What do you need to say NO to, to fulfil your bigger YES?

Anne Taylor is a life coach at DIRECTions Coaching based in London.