Monday, July 23, 2012

The Missing Link

The time has finally come. After a little contemplation and some encouragement from your loved ones, you have decided to take the plunge into a new, active lifestyle. But what comes next? What's missing? You've already established that you want to ultimately drop 25-30lbs. You've got a list of activities you would like to do, and you've also engineered a pretty good strategy for fitting these workouts into an already tight schedule. It appears as if all you need to do is simply get started. You decide that next Monday will be the day you set sail on your fitness voyage. You eagerly await the day, for with it will come a fresh start, a long overdue push out of the rut that you've made home. Monday finally arrives...and Monday soon departs. Regret. You tell yourself that it's ok. Tomorrow is a new day, brimming with potential. Tuesday arrives. Tuesday departs. More regret. Wednesday only brings with it more of the same. The days march on much as they always have, but now they bring only dread, for you know that each one will end with you regretting what was not started. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months with only a handful of workouts scattered sparingly within. Your dejection is too great. You decide to leave things status quo and shelve the fitness plans for now. You are too busy. There isn't enough time. There is more to consider. You jumped in too fast. The excuses abound. Maybe after the first of the year...

January 1st. The cycle begins again...and it ends--much the same way as it did previously. You repeat this cycle over and over for the next several years, with varying degrees of commitment and never really much success. Week after week you observe coworkers, friends and even strangers living fit and active lives. They seem to find time to hit up the gym before work or fit in a long run on the weekend. What are they doing different? Why are they out there embracing the fit life while you are watching from the sidelines? Do they have more time? No. You've got that free hour between work and supper. Six months ago you had made plans to start walking during that time. Do they want it more? No. You want it. You really do. You just can't seem to translate that desire into action. But what do you want? Do you even remember anymore? Oh yeah--to lose 25-30lbs. Now it's forty. Do the people that you are watching day after day, week after week, the people you see out there cycling on the weekends and taking yoga class on Thursdays do what they are doing so that they can fit into a size 4? For some that might be part of the equation, but there is more--much more. You have to have motive. You have to have drive. And though this drive can come from the setting of specific extrinsic goals, you need to think intrinsically as well. What would you be able to do if you were in better shape? Who would you be able to enjoy that activity with? Most importantly, How would you feel doing it? These are the kinds of questions that you need to ask yourself when setting fitness goals. Identifying these desires is the first step to setting intrinsic goals that will help drive you. Your next workout will have more meaning if you know that the increase in energy you are aquiring will enable you to spend more time playing in the yard with the kids. Each mile put behind you on the treadmill will feel more satisfying knowing you are that much closer to sharing a much missed evening walk with a loved one. Find what things are important to you and ask yourself how getting in better shape will help you accomplish or improve upon those things. Soon enough you will be looking back, not on another year of wasted opportunity, but on one filled with meaning and the promise of many more to come.

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