Balance January 2020 - 20

COVER
DAME
JESSICA
ENNIS-HILL

ooking for inspiration in 2020? Feel as if there
are multiple hurdles to overcome before you
reach those goals for the year? That's why
the medal magnet and former heptathlete
has put together a "M.A.P." just for you. That
stands for: "Maintain" fitness, set "Attainable"
targets and perhaps Jess' big one: physically
write down a "Plan".
"What I've found since retiring is that it's
much easier to maintain a level of fitness,
than to drop off, try to build back up; drop off,
try to build back up," says one of Britain's greatest sports stars. "If you can
find a way of exercising that you can enjoy and maintain a steady level of it
through the month, then it's much easier to stick with it and not fall away."
The 33-year-old Olympic Champion is also a huge fan of setting
attainable targets: "Realistic goals are something you can work towards;
you will hit a brick wall if you set something that's unrealistic. You'll fall at
the first hurdle. It's about having goals that are achievable.
"And then, personally, it's all about planning. It's having some way of
sitting down and organising what you are going to do to make positive
changes in the near future.
"Also when something's written down, it makes you physically commit
to it. I write on a calendar that I'll do a circuit on a certain day, and then do
it. That's because it's there; it's written down. That helps.
"My whole athletic life was about planning, organising and having a plan
to follow. Know what you're doing. It helps you to peak at certain times. It's
taking that [elite athlete's mindset] and putting it into this life now.
"I always had a training plan and would document everything that I'd
done. And I would have a goal I wanted to achieve, even from being a 15
or 16-year old. I still have bits of paper I've kept from when I was a child
that said: 'I want to make the English school championships' or 'I want to
be an Olympian.'"
BALANCE tells Jess it's as if she was doing The Secret before The Secret
was even a thing. This is news to Jess. "The what?!" We explain the
concept of Rhonda Byrne's controversial bestseller, and Jess is intrigued.
But, no, she was merely making a promise to herself. "It feels like you've
committed to something. When it's in your head and floating around, you
can always find reason not to do it and veer away from whatever you're
trying to achieve. When you write it down, it's more real."
During her medal-winning peak, this method would prove vital. And she
adds: "If I was really tired or had an injury, I'd be, 'But it's the plan! We've
got it written down! We have to follow it!'
"It comes down to your personality and I am a very organised planner.
If you have a hard copy of what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot
easier. I always had a diary with all my programmes inside, and would
write on the days what I was going to do and then write how it went
with results and times.
"Maybe I asked the universe." She laughs. "It's just having a physical copy
of it makes it harder to deviate."

POWER OF POSITIVITY

BALANCE has met Jess a couple of times and it's not just on the track
where she is an inspiration: it's in her discourse. Anyone who's read
personal development books will know the importance of the language
that's employed: using positive words helps keep us in the good place;
negative words and the opposite is true. With Jess, her sheer positivity is
life-affirming. "Enjoy", "lucky", "fortunate", "passionate", "fantastic" are all
part of the Ennis lexicon throughout our chat together.

20

REALISTIC GOALS ARE
SOMETHING THAT YOU
CAN WORK TOWARDS
Many sports stars call time on a career and subsequently struggle to
find a place in the world. Thanks in part to launching fitness app Jennis
- thereby finding fresh purpose and meaning - the Sheffield star has
radiated pure sunshine since hanging up her spikes following the Rio
Olympics in 2016. Hitting "reset" - one of the resolutions that many
people will be trying to follow this year - was relatively easy.
"I was really lucky because it was all done through my own choice,"
says Jess. "I wasn't forced into retirement through injury and there were
no external factors. I wanted to get to Rio and then my motivation was
retirement. When you're motivated by the need to retire, that's the time to
say, 'OK, I've done all I wanted to do.'
"It was a massive relief to retire and I've really enjoyed it. Don't get me
wrong; my career was incredible and I have fantastic memories, great
experiences and had a lovely team with me, but that's what I miss the most:
the team environment.
"I did all I wanted to do in sport. I enjoyed it and made the most of it. I'm
now in a different phase and am enjoying that now."
BALANCE tells Jess that when saying this, her shoulders have
metaphorically dropped, to which she replies: "There is a lot of pressure on
the shoulders of sports people! You don't realise until you stop. Especially
when you've got to the top.
"People expect you to perform all the time. You have to win all the
time. You still want to do that and be the best you can. But it can become
all-consuming and quite hard."
Was the pressure ever too much? Especially in 2012, when
the nation was behind her and everyone in Britain was
desperate for Jess to win that Olympic gold
in London.



Balance January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance January 2020

Balance January 2020 - 1
Balance January 2020 - 2
Balance January 2020 - 3
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