I Exercised! ……for maybe five minutes
Oh, my friends… I’ll have to fight hard for this one.
On month eight of twelve, I finally pulled out my tiny trampoline to start fulfilling my exercise resolution. Should I tell you that I didn’t even do that until the third week of August? Yeah, I think I’ll keep that to myself. Should I tell you that there are various items sitting on it right now, that I dumped there when I came in the door, and that it’s been accumulating detritus for a week? I don’t think I’ll tell you that, either.
In August, I realized that I want all these things for myself, and yet I don’t have a plan for getting them. I set these goals, these resolutions, but I never took the time to map out how I would reach the end of this one-year journey, what steps I would take to get there. In one case, that didn’t matter: I wanted to take a photography class, so I found one and signed up. But the rest of the goals I wanted to accomplish do not fall into that one-and-done category. The rest of my goals required thought and planning and…well, more goals, defined steps to get there.
Simply thinking about my big goals hasn’t provided me with the concrete guidance I need. Thinking about a goal gives me an overall idea of what I want and how I might accomplish it, but when it’s time to do the work, I am left to meander here and there, finding my way to the end any way I am able. It’s like following pathways in the woods: some are real, some are dead ends, and some just lead you around and around to nowhere.
There’s another drawback to just “thinking” about what I want: I’m noticing that I spend too little of my thought-life in the present. Particularly with the resolutions I’m not successful with, the ones that are more difficult for me motivation-wise. I spend most of my time in “if only”. If only I had stuck with my healthy eating in April, where would I be now? I’d feel so much better; I’d weigh less; I’d be happier with myself and with my body. If only I had kept strictly to my budget, I’d have more money in the bank, I’d be this much closer to paying off that last credit card.
If I’m not thinking about the past, then I’m “could-ing” myself into the future. By this time next year, I could have this much money in the bank. By this time next year, I could be at this weight. The thing is, when I’m concentrating on the “if only’s”, I am less happy, less motivated, and it’s even harder for me to keep going. Because I’m concentrating on something negative, on what I didn’t do or what I wish I had done. Those thoughts and feelings hold me back as much as anything else, because they mire me in my failures.
I fully believe in visualizing yourself attaining your goals, but if all you’re doing is planning and thinking about the future, then the present slips beneath you unnoticed. All your excitement and your hope is focused on some vague point down the road. It seems to me that it would benefit my journey more if my excitement and my hope were centered around my next step. Anything that I can do to make my next step easier and more natural, then that will make my end goal that much more possible to achieve.
At this point I’m just going to keep plodding away. I know I’ll continue at least three of my resolutions into 2013, and I’ll use the experience I’ve gained so far to build on next year. I can’t continue just “thinking” about what I want to do – or should do, or might do, or will do in the future. So, I’ll spend the last months of this year putting together a real set of goals: not just a final destination, but the steps I’ll take to get there. No more wandering down forest paths – I’m going to make myself a map. That way, I’ll know where I’m going, I can accurately measure my accomplishments, and I can focus on the steps I’m taking RIGHT NOW .
Items of Interest:
Wow what great insight. Everyone has to start somewhere sometime. You exercised. Even though it was 5 min. You exercised. Keep up the small steps. They grow into strides then milestones 🙂
Ah, yes – but it’s still just “thinking” at this point, haha! I have yet to set aside the time to really map anything out. I need more discipline! But, it’s taken me a year to get to this point, to get okay with small victories and to realize what I need to do to make it better. I think the long, slow road is TOO slow (for my patience), but it’s how I really come to understand things the best. And I think these are lessons that will stay with me longer.
I encourage you to watch “The Secret” – it has to do with the law of attraction. Sounds kind of hokey-pokey, but it makes sense. Keep your positive thinking going. Say I WILL instead of if I only could. I would also encourage a smaller goal for yourself. For example, instead of saying you will lose X amount of weight by X time frame, start by working towards going for a walk every other day. The momentum will build as you begin to see yourself making these baby steps. Good luck! I think writing about it is a step in itself – don’t give up!
Thanks! That’s so awesome for you to offer up tips to help me succeed. The smaller steps is exactly what I am going to do. A big problem for me is that I say I want to do x,y,z but then I don’t take the time to actually do them. I need these smaller, probably daily goals – and I need to put them on paper – so that I will (hopefully) do them. I say, I’ll walk tomorrow, but tomorrow comes and I forget, get busy, distracted, etc. Then the day is gone. I agree, focusing on the baby steps will get me started and then the momentum will pick up. Also, it’s a great suggestion to focus on HOW to achieve my goal, rather than the big goal itself. If I create my baby goals around small tasks and accomplishments, and keep my eyes there, I can more easily celebrate the small successes, instead of lamenting that I am still “so far” from the big goal.
This is the first time, really, that I haven’t given up on something like this, and it’s because of writing about it, so that is good advice! Thanks, again.
You’re very welcome! Also if you plan on doing any group fitness activities – a word of caution: Sometimes its them, not you! What I mean here is that the instructor makes all the difference. When I first tried yoga I was living in beautiful Banff, Alberta for a year or two. But the instructors weren’t working for me (I didn’t know it at the time). I thought yoga just wasn’t for me – but then I tried again once I was back in my home town. Again, I tried different gyms and different teachers and it just wasn’t right. Then when I got pregnant, the pieces all fell together. I found a wonderful instructor (by accident) and I love practicing every day now. To be fair, I can’t do it without her. What I mean is, I can’t do it alone at home – I need to be in the studio and hearing her voice. Eventually you will find something that works for you and you will be drawn to stick with it. Good luck and keep us posted on your blog 🙂
I think most things are like that – one size does not fit all. There are so many variables, sometimes it takes a while to find what feels like a good fit for you. I am nowhere near close to group exercise, but I will keep this in mind! 🙂
The first step in always the hardest. Exercising is 90% mental. Getting out the door is more than half the battle. I read just the other day that all a person really needs to stay healthy is to walk for 30 minutes a day. More than that is just icing on the cake. Try to set a time, like right after work, have your clothes all set out for when you get home, and don’t let your mind take over and start finding other things to do. Just head out the door and get it done. I know it sounds easy, but once I start making excuses (and I do it all the time), the game is already lost. I’m a pro at talking myself into/out of anything, and running has really taught me how to shut my brain off and get the job done.
It also helps, like you said, to have a goal. Write it down: I’m going to walk for 30 minutes five days this week. Even better, make a spreadsheet. Then you can color code it (green if you walked that day, red if you didn’t). It sounds goofy, but having something simple like that can be a huge motivator.
I have a TOUGH time with getting myself going! I am so much better with a routine, too, but that’s so hard to do when I work day, then night, then who knows what. I crave consistency with my daily routine, but I’m just gonna have to work around that somehow.
As for the goofy, I was already planning to do just what you suggest! I am a spreadsheet kind of girl, and I really need that visual, daily reinforcement. It’s one thing to know I’m not doing what I said I’d do. I can know it and also ignore it. It’s another thing to see a chart there with big Red X’s all over it! That is hard to ignore. That’s the kind of thing I respond to – so that’s what I need to make happen.
So, yes, I am going to make myself a chore chart. Like a four year old would have. But if it works, then I’m great with that!
I can totally relate to over-thinking on what goals you HOPE to attain, but I spend so long thinking and never any time doing, so things like exercising or finishing that project seem to slip away. 🙂 I think making plans of HOW to attain your goals is an excellent idea, because then (and I am a very methodical person, so this would work for me) I can write step by step details and actually do them! 😀
Thanks – it’s always good to know it’s not just you! I’ll let you guys know if this works. It may be into next year, but that’s how it goes, right. This year I have done okay, but now that it’s almost over, I’m seeing that I’ve just made the first little steps, kind of getting the lay of the land. I definitely need to do some better and more methodical planning.
Now, I just have to DO THAT!! If I’m not careful, the same thing will happen, and I’ll keep thinking and thinking on how I need to set small daily/weekly goals and let that slip away from me, too. So, I’m going to have to schedule time for me to do that. And concentrate, like you said, on making small goals that focus on how to obtain the big goals. 🙂
I was so happy when my little trampoline broke! hehehheh…boy, these are hard things you talk about. You’ve put it so well~ I too feel stuck where I am, and whenever I try to envision where I want to get to next, I get all lost. Then, not only can’t I picture where I hope to be one day, but I lose sight of today as well. sigh.
Well, I’m still stuck, too! I made a little list of daily and weekly goals, and tried to start assigning some of the things I want or need to do into weekly slots (like writing, reading blogs, shopping and cooking, etc.) But that hasn’t worked very well, either. With my job, my days are up and down, no consistency, and just because of who I am, I’m finding it hard to say, “I’ll write on Tues morning,” or “I’ll only read blogs on Mon and Fri.” But at least it’s a start. I guess, haha! I haven’t had or taken the time to start really mapping out my goals for next year, but I need start that soon. I have a feeling it’s going to take me a long time to figure it all out.