Friday, 9 September 2011

Having an end goal

This post follows on a little from yesterday’s post, “The measure of success”. I said how you should use as many ways as possible to measure how well your diet or fitness plan goes. But what happens when you 3 months in and you’ve lost a little weight, your resting heart rate has lowered a little, the blood pressure has gone from bursting to healthy and you’re jeans are a little looser? How can you stay motivated to keep going, to carry on the good work? That’s where the all important end goal comes in.
An end goal is something to aim towards, something you look back on and say “I did that”. But an end goal isn’t “I will lose 3 stone in two months” or “I will go down 2 dress sizes”. They are things that will happen along the way. When you step on the scales and see that you have reached your target weight, you may be happy, but there is no moment of elation, no huge moment of triumph. It’s just you, in your bathroom, staring at the ground. Compare that feeling to crossing the finish line at the end of a marathon, or a 50 mile cycling race, open water swimming event or triathlon. The end goal doesn’t have to be a race though; it can be training for a sports team and finally playing competitively for the first time since you were in school. These events create moments of pure joy, elation and are something that you remember for the rest of your life.
Sound impossible? That’s part of the point. By doing something that you thought was impossible, you feel even better, for that one moment, you feel invincible.
So, how do you do it?
In small steps. First, you need to pick the goal and then give yourself a realistic amount of time to do it. If it’s some sort of race event (running, cycling, swimming or triathlon) do a little research. There a literally thousands of races out there: beginners’ races, fun races, small local events, huge national events. Pick one that you like the look of and gives you enough time to train and then enter it. Don’t think about booking it or say you’ll train and then book it. Just book it. Then there’s no whimping out. The same with a sports team; just take the plunge and find out about training with a club. No club will turn down a player because they are unfit or have not played in a few years (well apart from professional teams I can’t imagine you can just stroll up to a premiership football team and ask to train).
So, you’ve taken the plunge. The event is entered or the training session has been planned. Now what? Train. Get ready and put the work in.
Need a little more motivation? Then raise money for charity. Do something good for you and something good for lots of other people. That way, when you’re struggling in training, you have that little bit more incentive not to give up. And when you cross the line, you feel twice as good knowing you have helped so many people.
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