The Number 1 Rule

Gerry Duffy, motivational speaker, picking up his new Renault Kadjar from O'Briens Renault Mullingar

At a corporate speaking presentation I once gave, I was asked the most important thing I’ve learned in the area of Goal Setting Strategy. I was reminded of it soon after, as I laced up my runners for a 6:30am run. I could hear the rain pouring outside and I must confess a part of me harboured a thought of heading back to the wardrobe and dressing for work instead. But then I remembered the number one rule.

In a moment, I will share what it is.

Before I share it however, let me ask you a question. What is your goal for the Mullingar Half Marathon?  I am sure the more than 1,000 entrants will all have a variety of targets. For some it’s completing their first half marathon. We all remember the first time we stepped up to the mark to do our first.

For others it might be to do the half in under 1:45 or 2 hours perhaps?  

On the presumption that your ambitious goal this spring will take everything you’ve got, I encourage you to respect your goal.

That’s right- respect it.

What I mean is, give it everything you’ve got. Make sure you have a training plan to turn your dream into reality. Do the training you said you were going to do. Make sure you do the hard sessions you promised yourself you would. Eat as best you can. Stretch as best you should. Rest, when you’re supposed to rest. 

On occasion I’ve seen people not achieve something they said they wanted to achieve. I believe if they were really honest with themselves, they would admit it wasn’t the goal that beat them; it was their lack of respect for it. They skipped a few sessions. They said it wouldn’t matter. They decided that the weather was too inclement, but instead of coming up with alternatives they skipped the session altogether. Weeks later, they either pulled out of the goal or they missed their goal time by five minutes. Afterwards they were more inclined to blame work for getting in the way or the weather on the day, when in fact, they hadn’t respected their goal.

Commitment is doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you. Stay committed. Do what you said you would. Run in the rain, turn up for your Pilates class, do that extra rep in the gym. Eat good food and often. Water doesn’t boil at 99 degrees but it can drive steamers and change the World when it hits 100%. If it’s a lofty bar you’ve set yourself, it will take 100% commitment.

As John O’ Regan, the Irish international ultra-runner once said,  “Don’t regret the runs you didn’t do”.

That’s why I’m glad I ran in the rain that morning.

I respected my goal. 


Renault ambassador Gerry Duffy is a professional speaker in the corporate sector in the areas of goal setting, motivation and leadership. He has written three books. The first Who Dares, Runs chronicles his ambition to run 32 marathons in 32 consecutive days around Ireland in 2010 and his second was Tick Tock TenInside a DECA Iron Distance triathlon (24 mile swim, 1,160 mile cycle and 262 mile run). Tick Tock Ten was shortlisted for Irish Sports Book of the year (2013). His latest book THE GOAL GETTER – 35 Different Ways to Reach Your Goals was released in November 2015.

For further information or to buy any of Gerry’s books, log onto



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