In unprecedented circumstances such as those we face today, many perceive getting – and staying – motivated as a personal challenge. Yet with a simple plan and a certain amount of positivity and flexibility, channelling your talents and energy to achieve is not only possible but enjoyable. We’ve drawn on the wisdom of Danilo Palmucci, legendary Ironman and our Head Trainer at Hotel de Russie, to illustrate the following guide to persevering and achieving success.
“Don’t waste your talent,” says Danilo. The first step is to identify what you’re good at and what makes you feel good, be it sports, art, languages, learning or even the job you’re already in. You may not be where you want to be yet, but accepting your potential is the first step on the road to greatness, as Danilo did as a youngster after completing an intensive 80-mile bicycle ride to his own – and his father’s – surprise.
Next, set a goal. That goal can be anything: to create something, to pass an exam, to play a piece or even to compete in a competition; it just needs to be something you want to do. It doesn’t have to be about winning, just about pushing yourself to make progress and recognising you’ve made it. As Danilo says, “I don’t always have to win, but I love being in the game. And the applause for the last person across the finish line is always louder and more enthusiastic than for anyone else.”
Set an initial timeframe for your goal, and ensure you give yourself plenty of time. “I normally enter a race a year in advance,” says Danilo, now a senior sportsman after 35 years of competition, “yet this time my goal is set to further ahead. I aim to be number one in Triathlon for the over-60s age bracket in three years’ time.” Whether your goal is as global as his, or something more personal, such as playing an instrument or learning to converse in a language, it’s equally important, and you’ll need time to build up to it.
Break your goal down into smaller, more manageable milestones. “Your commitment has to be unwavering,” Danilo says, “but it’s well worth it”. If you’re writing, make every twenty pages a goal; if you’re learning an instrument, each new melody is a target in itself; if you’re learning to cook, the smiles of your dinner party guests after each new dish should instil a sense of personal victory. Take the time to stop and consider what you’ve done or can do that’s new, and how far you’ve come already.
Lean on your support network. Give family members a part to play in your experience, but also take the opportunity to meet those who share your passion. “Thanks to triathlons, I’ve met friends and colleagues from all over the world. We feel like one big family where everyone is included,” Danilo explains. Supportive, inspirational relationships can spur you on even in the toughest of times; Danilo himself underwent two operations for melanoma in 2017, and shortly afterwards entered the Australian championships. “I wasn’t in great shape, but I didn’t want to disappoint myself, my friends, family or Rocco Forte Hotels. I said to myself, ‘Danilo, unleash hell!’ and took gold in the second race.”
If you’re feeling demoralised, simply change the way you approach what you’re doing. Italy is currently under lockdown, which would stop some from training; yet Danilo has recreated his training routine at home instead. “When the rules change, you simply have to adapt as quickly as possible,” he explains. “Nothing comes easy, to me or anyone. If you accept that, you can challenge anything, from the Ironman title to the coronavirus.” Even if you’re not facing such extreme restrictions, swapping your surrounds or the way you approach a task can change your entire attitude to it.
Finally, reward yourself. Some feats include their own rewards, such as the medals, titles and fanfare involved in competitions, but set your own, personal rewards too. Whether that’s a nice gift to yourself, an experience with friends or family or booking a dream trip for the future, make it something you’ve wanted for a long time – the perfect accompaniment to the triumphant pride you will feel when you realise a dream. After all, as Danilo concludes, “Those who don’t step back will win the race of life.”
Danilo enthusiastically awaits the return of our guests to Hotel de Russie, where he enjoys providing tailored training plans, one-on-one work outs and leading his Roman Art Run and early morning bicycle tours.