Every new year, people have goals, a lot of times these goals are simply fading whims. My goals have been the same for years and every year I would progress just the slightest but never really get to where I wanted. This year I have made most of my progressions and I am very happy to see the changes that I wanted to. Nonetheless, there were a lot of things I had to learn on the way to getting to where I am now. While I am not yet where I want to be, I am still striving to achieve it. These are the things that I picked up along the way.
1. Everybody has had a different start and finish line.
We all become self-conscious when we start to work out whether it’s going on a run outside or heading to the gym. Our first instinct is to look at those around us and notice those with skinnier or more muscular bodies than our own. We shrink and end up hesitant to start because we don’t see us looking like these sculptured beings. Some of us have to gain and some of us have to lose pounds to find that middle ground that we all wish to reach. What we do forget is that these people did not just become like this overnight. It took them years of hard work and dedication to truly be where they want to be and even then, they’re maintaining their bodies to keep them looking that way. If we take anything from this, it’s that we must truly be ready to embark on a journey that won’t happen as quickly as we want it.
2. You will not look like a chiseled god over the next few weeks, so throw your scale away.
Even months or even years, but what you can count on is seeing progress in one way or another. One thing I recommend is if you have a scale, throw it away or keep it stored somewhere that you won’t have the necessity to check everyday. Why? Because we can be very impatient beings that seek immediate gratification. We have grown accustomed to receiving what we want and at a quicker rate than before. When we don’t, we cry or are disheartened that we didn’t. Having a scale feeds into this cycle. A lot of the times when we start working out, we always wake up the next morning eager to check the scale expecting to find this grand change with only a day or two of work. The reality is that we will not see much change until a few weeks. Even then, depending on your goal, you may be building muscle and staying the same weight on the scale but physically, you are looking different. Since understanding this, I usually check myself in the mirror or take others’ words for changes in my body because a scale can only tell numbers. Do yourself a favor and try to not fall prey to the scale.
3. Eat healthy but eat sane.
I was definitely one of those people who would read about diets and such. I fell prey to a bodybuilder-type diet that consisted of chicken breast, brown rice broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc. While, it did help, I wasn’t very happy mentally to be eating such a mundane diet, day in and day out. The keyword there was diet. It’s not about that, it’s about having food that’s good for you AND that you’ll be happy with eating for the rest of your life, basically. While I still ate the same chicken breast, broccoli and all that, I would indulge in a well-done, mouth-watering burger or pizza at least once a week. It kept me sane and sometimes it feels like a reward for keeping consistent. A lot of people fail because they become too strict with what they eat to attain their goals that they forget they should also enjoy what they’re eating.
4. Your goals are just that, YOUR goals.
Again, sometimes we are discouraged by seeing the world around us that we forget that we are doing this for US. Not every one wants to be a bodybuilder or look skinny. Some of us are in it for the performance aspect of whatever we’re doing. People who run do it because they want to compete in races or use it as endurance training. Weight lifters are sometimes in sports or just looking to become more powerful. Body composition and performance are not mutually exclusive. Go to a marathon race and you’ll see people of all shapes and sizes. You’ll have males with biceps the size of a boulder who will be weaker than someone that doesn’t, again, different goals for different people.
5. ENJOY what you do.
I will be the first to admit that once upon a time I looked at working out as a chore, as a means to an end. At that very instant I had already failed. I wasn’t as committed as I should have been at the time. It’s like driving to an amusement park(if you like them of course), you kind of have to drive there or else you don’t get to the park. You need to look forward to the little steps in working out because it keeps you focused on the bigger step in achieving where you want to be. You don’t necessarily have to lift weights or run to get where you want to, but they’re surely a foundation. These days the option of yoga is a great choice for those unhappy with the two previous choices. There are many different ways to workout and it’s just about choosing what will also be enjoyable for you.