You might be asking yourself “Did I read that right?”. The answer is “Yes, you certainly did!”. But why would we be talking about ‘New Year’s Resolutions already? Seems a little pre-mature, doesn’t it… or late in the year, depending on how you look at it.
Well, here’s my line of thinking – it is well known that the number one topic for January ’resolution’ setting is a health or fitness related goal. And although well intentioned, most (more than 60%) of these goals will never be attained. The majority of people, in fact, will quit their pursuit of a leaner, meaner body before the first quarter of the year has even past. Those few remaining warriors who do manage to hold onto their aspirations for a fitter year are more often than not already avid gym buffs, and are simply adding to their already stellar workout regime by introducing some new challenges. So if you’re already exercising regularly 4-5 times per week, and eat a healthy diet 80-90% of the time, this post may not apply to you (but I encourage you to follow along just the same, as you may very well be able to apply these concepts to other areas of your life).
As we burn through the last few months of this year it serves as an excellent time to reflect on the last 10 months. Were you one of the many people who experienced a surge of motivation when the clock struck ‘2012’? As we’ve all experienced, the new calendar year seems to have a magical power over us, instigating a savage need to evaluate our lives and determine which areas we’re going to focus our energy to improve ‘this year’.
I’d like to share a little of my own story from this past year to set the stage for my upcoming ‘Successful Goal Setting’ series, and invite you to follow my journey back to “ME” through the upcoming months. I want to preface with this – EVERYONE faces challenges and struggles when it comes to health, nutrition and fitness. No one is exempt from or immune to bad habits, lazy days, or lack of motivation. So whatever you’re going through in your life, wherever you are in your journey to better health, you’re certainly not alone.
So, here’s a little about my journey. Throughout this past year I have experienced new highs and lows in my own health and fitness journey. After a tragic car accident took the life of someone very close to me early in February, I struggled (and that’s putting it modestly) to stumble my way through some form of a ‘grieving process’. Having always been looked to by others to be a beacon of positivity, a deliverer of ‘the bright side’, the one to ‘keep it together’, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, I found myself at a loss in this instance for the skills needed to effectively manage new and indescribably foreign amounts of grief. As an unfortunate coping mechanism, I learned the hard way that I am an “emotional eater” to the nth degree when faced with the incomprehensible reality. So, while this year dragged on, my weight has steadily increased, until topping the scale 30lbs heavier than when I set my 2012 goals of my ‘fittest year yet’ back in January. Not exactly what I had planned for, but under the circumstances, I have learned to be patient and kind with myself, feeling out how this new ‘normal’ will take form, but staying mindful that there will come a time when I need to set some stricter guidelines to get myself back on track.
On the flip-side of the dark cloud hanging over this year, the sunshine always has a way of peeking through when we need it most. A long-time dream of mine has been to complete a triathlon. Don’t be fooled. The idea of racing against other athletes is about as appealing to me as walking barefoot across the desert, but I didn’t want to let fear be the deciding factor in never checking this off my “Lived List”. In August of this year I, along with one of my clients, suited up and participated in a sprint distance triathlon. I am happy to report that we had a blast, despite the last leg of the race being completed in torrential downpour, and my missing an integral turn in the run-route. Completing the race that day gave me a sense of accomplishment that I don’t know I’ve ever experienced in all my years of playing competitive sport. The overwhelming satisfaction that came from completing what I had set out to do made the accidental extra 5km I ran worth every soggy step.
I truly believe that in every trial we face, no matter how big or small, the outcome is never as significant as when we reveal to ourselves our true character. One thing that I learned from all of this is that the people you surround yourself with who support you through life’s tragedies are priceless. I also learned that you will never really know how great life can be if you’re too afraid to challenge your fears. Life truly begins outside your comfort zone. Thirdly, I learned that it pays to have a solid plan in place to keep you focused on where you’re going, and a back-up plan in case you get side-tracked.
I would love for you all to share your personal goals from this past year – did you set a health, nutrition or fitness related goal for 2012, and have you reached that goal? Let’s celebrate your accomplishments, recognize where you’ve fallen behind, and prepare to press “RESET” for a whole new year.
Stay tuned for my upcoming series on Successful ‘Goal Setting’…