When it comes to life, this word bears a lot of weight. We live in a society that often esteems this concept, but operates in extremes. Juggling work, kids, social schedules, home life, health, and so on, it’s amazing we are even able to hold our heads above water. I get it. So when I preach to people on a daily basis about making time to workout and develop healthier habits, I am not shocked when they practically give me the finger. This is simply where we are. But I think that response stems from something much deeper that is surprisingly common among many people when it comes to fitness….the “all or nothing” mentality.
Somewhere we’ve developed this notion that “fit” has one definition and must be applied to everyone, especially ourselves. But it doesn’t end there. We go on to set goals which may not necessarily be realistic and adopt a plan of attack that is in no way sustainable because there is no balance with the rest of our life. A few weeks in and we are not only discouraged, but we even resent the entire journey. It’s unfortunate because our fitness path is intended to be a unique and empowering journey with enough challenges to change us, and enough success to keep us going.
The ultimate goal is a regimen that is sustainable to produce realistic results we desire. So how do we get there?
First, we must break the cycle. This whole all-or-nothing concept is not only confining, but it presents such enormous expectations and leaves us with a greater chance of failure than success. Refuse it. Throw it out. Fact is something IS better than nothing. If you literally have just 15 minutes in your day to squeeze in a brisk walk, it’s better than sitting on your rear. If you can only workout twice this week instead of 4 times like you intended, guess what? Twice is better than not at all. When we allow ourselves to even consider this, it opens us up to greater success because we’re more likely to stick with a plan that is doable than one which is not.
Second, we must accurately assess where we are and where we want to go. Setting goals ultimately dictates our direction. When goals are self-established and realistic, it’s much easier to maintain focus and motivation when it gets hard. And it will get hard. Being realistic is critical because the fact is if our life outside of the gym is too much at odds with expectations concerning the gym, frustration builds and eventually something has to give. This is not to say that we may not have to sacrifice some things in order to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. However, if the sacrifices exceed the desire for positive change, commitment folds and we are back to square one. Long term goals must ultimately mesh with our desire/drive and realistic ability to meet them.
Lastly, look at the day by day steps it takes to reach your goal and ask yourself a few important questions:
- Am I willing to devote myself to this?
- Can I make this work for my schedule? Do adjustments need to be made on either end?
- Is my environment supportive and help push me in the right direction?
Your fitness journey is just that…yours. It can twist and turn as you please, run alongside of others, or remain a one-man staircase straight to the top. It can change year to year and mold to fit the various chapters of life you find yourself in. It’s still yours. Take comfort in the fact that you ultimately create and improve yourself, and at the end of the day be proud of the stride you make along the way.
Examine your desires. Define your goals. Go lay your path.