The first quarter just ended, so I’m reflecting on some of the fitness and nutrition goals I set at the beginning of the year and am wondering if they were goals or merely wishes?
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I’ve never stuck with one. I do believe in goals though, as well as planning, writing them down, and executing the steps necessary to get there. Have I planned well for every goal I’ve ever set? Have I written each one of them down? Have I executed every step necessary to get there? Hell no. Why is that? Maybe it’s because some weren’t actually goals.
Why is it we are committed to some goals and others are merely wishes, especially those tied to fitness and nutrition? Shouldn’t those be the most important? Those are our foundation; we have one body and one brain. Are our careers, titles, clothes, cars, and houses more important than our health? Sometimes we think so, until we’re faced with sickness, disease, or even death. Do you think it’s our responsibility to take care of the body we were bless with? If so, why do we merely “wish” for better health?
Is it because we feel we don’t deserve to look and feel our best, because we think we don’t have the time it takes, because we don’t think we can do it, because we feel we don’t know how, or is it because it’s just not that important? I think any of those are possibilities, and while some of them seem legit and strong, they are still excuses. If we want something to change, we need to turn our wishes into goals or intentions. We must make the commitment and take responsibility.
When we set a goal or intention, I think we should have a “why.” Why do we want it? What will accomplishing this do for us or those around us? What will our life look like once we hit it? What will life look like if we don’t? Often, we set goals because they sound good. They seem great in theory, but they’re not realistic and don’t align with what’s most important to us and those who matter most. I think this is especially true when it comes to our wellness. We are quick to set weight loss and/or physical appearance goals, and often, they are solely for the smaller dress size or the way we look. Alone, those things likely don’t have a big impact on the things that matter most! At the same time, being healthy, getting to a healthy weight, and feeling good about ourselves can be life changing – for us and everyone around us. So, how do we know if we’re setting the right goals and intentions and for the right reasons?
Ultimately, we should set goals for ourselves, but if we have yet to hit them and they are still merely wishes, maybe we need a bigger WHY – something more than a smaller dress size or six-pack abs. We need to know what our life will look like once we get there. What will be different? How will it affect us and/or those around us?
Some of us are great to get started, but if we’re quick to let the excitement fizzle out, that doesn’t do anything for the end game, especially with nutrition and fitness. Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle. When you’re ready to make a change, you must be brutally honest with yourself, which may require digging deep. Lifestyle changes can be tough, so it will be extremely important to remember why you’re making them. It could be to create something, change something, or even prevent something. Whatever the reason is, be brutally honest and super specific.
This is the time to ask yourself, “what and who is truly important to me?” You can read all the motivational quotes you want, have the best trainer there is, learn a lot from a dietitian or health coach, read article after article, and wish to look and feel your best, but at the end of the day, YOU MUST WANT IT ENOUGH TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. So, what is important enough to you to make the commitment and take responsibility? Are you enough? Is it your family? Your job? Remember, it’s time for honesty!
Not to play the blame game because I’ve done this too, but how many times have you set an appearance goal and the deadline was a special event…a wedding, a reunion, a vacation, etc. Now, think back on how many times you hit the goal? And now, how many times did you sustain it? Was the goal solely for appearance, and who was it for? If you hit it, it must have been important enough to you. If it was sustainable, was it tied to something more than your appearance? Maybe your health, the way you felt, your confidence, etc. I’ve found it’s easier to hit and sustain a goal when your reason is more important than the pounds alone, or simply the way you look.
A healthier lifestyle will require new healthy habits. While habits can be hard to break and hard to set, they are not impossible. Just remember, YOU MUST WANT IT, so dig deep and figure out why and how it will impact you. This makes creating those habits a little easier and more enjoyable. Your new passion and purpose will give you more determination. You need something important enough and big enough that your excitement and drive don’t disappear.
Over this past week, as I’ve been looking at the first quarter fitness goals I wrote on the colorful post-it notes that are stuck to my bathroom mirror, I’ve been thinking about the ones I haven’t reached and why I haven’t reached them. Did I set the right ones? Why did I set them? Who are they going to affect? What is my why? Do they align with what matters most?
Three of my goals were very specific: hold a 7-minute plank, finish a 50K, and set a new half marathon PR (1:40:00). I’ve hit the first two, a 7-min plank and run a 50K. As for the half marathon PR, I went into the year planning to run more trails due to knee pain and to train for some trail races, so I didn’t put a half marathon on the calendar. Therefore, the 1:40:00 half marathon wasn’t a goal; it was merely a wish…for now anyway. That wasn’t truly important to me, and I should have been honest with myself. Heck, I didn’t even execute the first step necessary to get there – picking a race with a date!
As for the ones I accomplished, I set those goals because there was a time when I didn’t think I could accomplish any of them. I set them to prove to myself that I’m mentally strong enough. That drives and motivates me. In addition, every time I push past limits I once set for myself, I hope it motivates and/or inspires others to do the same. When I share my fitness and nutrition journey on social media, it is my authentic excitement for something I love and something I’m proud of. I have to believe it touches someone else in the same way I’m touched when other people share their accomplishments, excitement, and what it means to them. If I hadn’t been inspired, encouraged, assured, and supported, I wouldn’t have ever run a 5K, or a half marathon, a 25K, a 21-mile trail run, a marathon, and certainly not a 50K. I’m driven to prove to myself that I can, to show others they can too, and to help others along the way. Those reasons are big enough to me.
On the flip side, I set a couple other first quarter fitness “goals” that were apparently merely wishes. I, like many people, would like exceptionally sexy arms and six-pack abs. While I have nice arms and nice abs, they’re not what I visualized when I made my neat little post-it notes. I need to adjust my diet just a little in order to see those changes. Don’t get me wrong, I fuel my body wonderfully! As long as I’m eating real food, I eat when I want, what I want, and however much I want. The problem is, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of fueling recipes lately, and instead of feeding others or saving them for long runs, we’ve enjoyed them around the house. “If it’s around, you’ll eat it. If it’s not, you won’t.” Of course, I don’t aim for perfection, and I also enjoy brews here and there. It’s mandatory because they’re always waiting for me at the finish line, right? 😉 As for the extra food I don’t need, I know better, and if I want to take my physique to the next level, I need to stop doing what I’m doing and make some additional tweaks to my diet, which could cause me to focus on food. Since I used to have a bad relationship with food, I’m a little concerned. I don’t want to fall backwards and it impact me negatively. So, I ask myself, “did I set the right goals?” We’ll see what this quarter brings. If it’s important enough, I’ll make it happen – that’s the way realistic goals work. If not, I’ll know I’m perfect just the way I am! I’m at a perfect weight, I feel great, I’m able to do the things I love, and I’m able to help others! I’m healthy and happy!
All of us need physical activity and real food to feel our best. There’s no room for argument on those two things – it is what it is! The only thing that will create change is your commitment and accepting responsibility, whether for yourself or for others. The best excuses you have won’t change a thing. YOU MUST WANT IT! What is important enough to you? What will drive you?
What are your goals?
What are your wishes?
Will your goals make you healthier?
What is keeping you from reaching them?
What will your life look like once you reach them?
What will your life look like if you don’t?
Who will they affect?
How will they affect you?
Will they affect your family, your relationship with your family, etc.?
Will reaching your goals and making lifestyle changes make you a better role model?
Will they make you happier? More confident? If so, will they improve the relationships around you?
How will life look different when you wake up in the mornings? When you get dressed? When you go to work? When you volunteer? When you play with your pets? When you work out? When you play with your kids and grandkids? When you spend time at the lake, river, and ocean? When you walk, hike, and run? When you go out to eat? When you travel? When you’re intimate?
What question(s) do you need to ask yourself to put it in perspective or to make it important enough to you? We all know temporary changes are easy. It’s lifestyle changes that require commitment and responsibility, and it’s lifestyle changes that lead to a healthier and happier you!
Life is a journey that includes side steps, steps backwards, and sometimes we stand still for a minute. Healthy is a journey too. Just remember where you’re headed, why you’re headed there, and what it will look like once you arrive. Then keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’re worth it and so are those around you! I PROMISE you will thank yourself later!