Tag Archives: Goals

“If It Wasn’t Hard, Everyone Would Do It.”

30 Jun

You all know how much I love me some good fitness inspiration. Whether it’s motivational posters and quotes, wicked workouts, or healthy foods to fuel my muscles, I love getting inspired by all the great fitness info the internet has to offer. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to peruse some of the top women’s magazine and fitness sites to see what they had to say about working out. What I found reminded me why I tend not to read those magazines in the first place. Take a look at some of these headlines:

The Fastest Abs Workout Ever! Tighten and Tone Your Tummy in Five Minutes.

Three Rules for the Best Weight Loss Workout!

Fergie’s Flat Abs Secret!

5 Smoothies That Really Slim!

5 Minutes to Flat Abs!

Five New Ways to Lose Weight!

Three things pop out to me. First, people love quantifiable numbers. Second, of those numbers, five is the most popular. Third, they all implicitly promise quick, fast, unrealistic results.

Five minutes alone won’t give you abs like Rhianna. It’s a celebrity’s job to look great, and it’s a full-time job. Most of us don’t have that luxury, as we have full-time jobs that don’t involve a personal trainer, so knowing their ‘secrets’ won’t change our life. There are no magic foods that will whittle your waistline on their own with no extra effort on your part. There are no new ways to lose weight. It’s science. Work out and eat right, that’s it. If I’ve learned anything about fitness and working out, it’s that there are no shortcuts. There’s not one magic move, there is no magic pill, it’s just not that easy. If it was, everyone would look like Beyonce.

That’s one thing I love about my favorite fitness lifestyle blog, Tone It Up: they are realistic about telling you that if you follow their workouts, diets, etc. you’ll get out of it what you put in. Work hard and reap the rewards. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

So say it with me, ladies! We reject the headlines that breed a culture of laziness and tell us we’re five minutes away from the waist of our dreams! We won’t lose 25 pounds if we can just find that magic move or choose to take the stairs! We will work for the body we want, stop looking for the quick temporary fix, and be darn proud of ourselves on the other side!

P.S… A just read this and said it’s the same for men and their magazines. “Five Minutes To the Biceps of Your Dreams!” Whatever. Men and women of the world, reject the crappy headlines that hold promises as substantial as air. To paraphrase Missy Elliot, “Is it worth it? Let me work it. I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.” Let’s flip the script and work it!

#4 Done – Can You Say Namaste?

29 Mar

image courtesy of we ❤ it.

Wow, it’s been a while since we’ve had one of these posts! But I am ready to cross #4 off of my 30 Before 30 List.  I wanted to wait until I’d attended at least a month’s worth of classes to cross this one off, and since Monday evenings on my calender now read YOGA, I feel like I can call this one accomplished.

This week I took my eighth yoga class since I joined my new gym, and everything I remember loving about yoga nine years ago is coming back to me. All the stress on the body, the stretching outside my comfort zone, the holding position that makes me want to scream at the instructor, and the five minutes at the end to stretch out, relax, reward your body for the work it’s done, and quiet the mind that makes it all worthwhile. I was lucky to join the gym at a time where there was an additional class scheduled for Saturdays in addition to their usual Monday class, so I got in twice the yoga I would have on any other month. I’ve enjoyed many of the group classes, but the yoga class in particular feels like I’m setting aside quality time for myself. I feel centered, strong, and awesome when I finish a class, and have already seen a marked difference in how my body performs the moves.

Our instructor is awesome; she is great at offering traditional moves with several degrees of difficulty, so beginners and yogis alike can feel challenged by the class. We start out simple, and always finish with a ‘challenge pose’ before moving into final relaxation. I don’t know what yoga discipline I’m taking, but I do know that our instructor moves us through different poses slowly at first, than gaining momentum to keep our heart rate elevated and warm the body. I often sweat a lot in class (and this is NOT hot yoga) from the work we do, so I know it’s a far cry from some of the more breathing and meditation-focused yoga classes I’ve taken in the past. In short, it’s my kind of yoga.

Some things that are different from previous yoga experiences:

  • I’m several cup sizes larger, which really gets in the way. It’s annoying.
  • I feel like I understand what I’m doing for the first time, and can intentionally engage muscles in my body to get a full workout experience.
  • I’m learning to focus on breathing and quieting the mind as well as keeping my full body engaged, so I feel like I’m finally tapping into the whole mind-body connection yoga can bring.
  • Since I’m participating in other sports as well as yoga for the first time, I definitely see a dramatic improvement in how my body performs because of the cross training. And I’m loving it.

So #4 is done. I’m loving everything about this class, no matter how much I’d swear to the contrary when I’m trying to hold a strong warrior pose.

Have you crossed anything off of your goal list lately? Tell me about it!

The Power of Writing Down Goals

22 Mar

image from online success with greg de tisi

Last week Trainer Kenny gave me homework. No, it wasn’t to do more squats correctly. 🙂 He wanted me to write down a fitness goal, to make it specific, and give it a time limit. Then he wanted me to write down five positive reasons why I wanted to reach this goal, and five negative reasons. Procrastinator that I am, I didn’t remember until last night, and we’re meeting today. Overachiever that I am, I decided to write down two. Notorious Over-Sharer that I am, I figured I’d share them with you lovely people. (You’re not sick of my many goal lists yet, are you? Good.)  After all, what’s better for accountability than making a goal public? (Please note, Trainer Kenny was very careful to say that these goals don’t have to be realistic. So keep the snickering to a minimum, please.)

Goal #1: Build lean muscle mass and a strong core to help me perform better when I run (hopefully) two half-marathons this October. 

Why?

  • Muscle = speed. I want a better time than what I achieved last October – ‘Finished.’
  • Muscle = endurance. Running all or almost all of (hopefully) two half marathons, instead of walking most due to a ankle injury, will feel amazing
  • Core strength = stability. Stability = better form. Better form = more efficient running, which equals less chance of injury and better time. A win all around.
  • Core strength also improves balance. I could do with less falling down on my runs, or in life in general.
  • A’s running one with me, and I’d love to keep up with him so we could cross the finish line together.
  • To prove to myself I can do it.

Why not?

  • I need my legs and hips to be stronger to support my knees. I don’t want my knee to almost go out again and have to fear that I won’t be able to finish what I started.
  • Weak runners are injured runners.
  • Try putting on a backpack with sixty pounds of weights in it and tell me if it makes running 13.1 miles easier. No? That’s what I’m dealing with now, and I’m tired of it.
  • A’s running one with me, and I don’t want him waiting around for hours for his slow wife to finish.
  • I don’t want to fail.

Goal #2: I want to lose all 60 pounds this year. (Hey! He said it didn’t have to be realistic!)

Why?

  • I’m 28 1/4 years old right now. I’m not getting any younger, and as far as my weight is concerned, I figure it’s either uphill or downhill from here. I choose uphill.
  • That will put me right in the middle of a healthy body-fat percentage.
  • I’ll be happier in my body.
  • I’ll be able to choose clothes from a store based on their style, not on whether or not they have my size.
  • I have a whole wardrobe – an awesome wardrobe, a fun wardrobe – in my closet that I no longer fit into. I want my clothes back!
  • Um, hello? 30 Before 30 list!
  • These boobs are seriously ridiculous to exercise with. They’ve always been big, no getting away from that, but I’m looking forward to getting back to big and away from obscene.

Why not?

  • I don’t want to be too tired/fat/out of shape to play with my kids one day.
  • I don’t want to wonder if my weight affects A’s attraction to me anymore. (He says it doesn’t, but you know how those nagging doubts go.)
  • I feel heavy, clumsy, and ugly right now when I dance. And I love to dance. Plus, I have little stamina so when I dance I can’t do it for as long as I’d like.
  • I’m afraid if I don’t change now, I’ll be this way forever. And I don’t want to be.
  • I don’t want to die early, or get any of the diseases connected to obesity.

So those are my goals! What’s the power of writing them down? Dunno. I’ll have to ask Trainer Kenny and get back to you.

Do you believe in the power of writing a goal down? Have you ever done it? How’d it go?

(Re)Learning to Dream

5 Jan

Did you ever give up on a dream because life got in the way?

photo from thewonderforest.com

It seems like everyone is talking about dreaming lately. I suppose it’s fitting; we tend to examine our lives more closely every time January 1st comes around. From a talk I recently attended at my church on helping women to achieve their dreams, to several blogs on my blog roll, to talking with my best friend about whether we have the right dreams for our lives right now, having dreams is on the brain. The most common lament I hear, especially from other women, is that they don’t even know how to begin to figure out what their dream is. Either they don’t know how to look ahead, the future is too big with too many options, or they’re just not used to thinking about their own desires anymore.

I’ve had some amazing responses to my 30 before 30 list since I made it public. Friends have shared their own lists with me that they dreamed up a long time ago, others have started lists of their own. I’ve had more than a couple of my (crazy, loveable, absolutely fabulous) aunts ask me what I thought about them making a six before sixty list, or other some such integers, which I told them was an amazing idea! I never thought when I published my little list that I would get to hear all about others’ dreams, both the ones they look forward to and ones they’d given away. Which got me wondering: how do we keep dreaming when life keeps on coming?

When I starting writing down what I wanted to accomplish before I turned thirty, I surprised myself by thinking about all the things I’d ever wanted to do instead of shooting blindly into my future. For example:

When I was a kid, running down the street to ask the neighborhood kids “want to ride bikes?” was the highlight of my Summer’s day. I stopped riding sometime around junior high – I must have outgrown my bike or something – and haven’t been on one since. But I always looked wistfully at the kids cruising the strip down Huntington Beach while I was on vacation and envied the bike messengers streaming down the streets in SF when I lived in the city. So “Own and Ride a Bike With a Basket and a Bell” went on the list.

I love school, I’m good at school, I was happy when I was in school. I stopped going before I reached my personal academic goals, so ‘Go Back to School’ went on the list.

Since turning 21 I’ve been invited on approximately 50 wine tastings trips. Due to consistently poor timing I’ve been able to go on exactly none. I’ve dreamed of going wine tasting on a gorgeous Spring day, wearing a sundress and sandals, laughing with the man I love while sipping a wine that will remind us of this perfect day months later when we open a bottle to compliment the perfectly prepared meal I set on the table. So that went on the list as well.

Every time I tried to imagine what my life might look like years from now, and what sort of goals I’d have to set to get there, I got so hopelessly overwhelmed that my potential dreams quickly drowned in the sea of possibilities. The future is large and nebulous, but my past? My past is set. My past is a vast ocean of memories – times I was happy, times I was inspired, times where I felt like I was doing exactly the right thing for myself at the time. Our pasts are a veritable field of dreams, ripe for the harvest.

Jon Acuff wrote a brilliant post on what he calls ‘dreaming backwards’, and he had this to say on dreaming:

Instead of asking forward-facing questions like, “What do I want to do with my life?”, we dream backward and ask, “What have I done in my life that I’ve loved?” And the answer we get is not a bottomless, faceless list of options that could apply to anyone. It’s a personal, small, uniquely tailored to our hearts and our souls, handful of life experiences that made us feel alive.

It hurts my heart when I hear people say they don’t know how to dream anymore. So this is my antidote to being overwhelmed with possibility and not knowing where to start: start by thinking about times you were happy, when you were doing something you loved, when you felt needed. Think about what you might have done if no one ever said “you can’t.” Think about what you were working towards once upon a time, before life, finances, relationships, and busyness got in your way. Think about it, and then dream big. Because life’s too short to live it halfway.

What dream might you dare to revisit?

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