Are We There Yet?I had a good run today and pushed myself to the maximum. I have a goal set for myself and for now it’s a tough one. I still can’t run an entire mile and a half nonstop so beating a specific time is very difficult. I’ve been making good progress and knocked off another twenty seconds today. I need to chip away another full minute to get where I want to be.
Setting difficult goals can be a double-edged sword. They can motivate you to push harder, but they can also get you discouraged. In weight loss the scales can taunt your efforts every morning even when you seem to be doing everything right. Exercise goals can be very difficult to meet, as they should be. Getting to where you want to be is hard and it can take a long time. The temptation to quit is always there.
Goals need to be realistic, measurable, and attainable. The purpose is to set milestones to celebrate while on a journey of self-improvement. A good goal is one that requires a lot of effort so meeting it will bring a lot of satisfaction. But the goal isn’t a final destination. Life is a journey.
Telling others about your goals makes you accountable and that can help. When you get discouraged you will, hopefully, have people to support you. At the least it will give you a reason to continue just so you won’t lose face with all the people you were trying to impress. Just be careful with that sort of thing because some people want you to fail so they can justify their lack of interest in their own self-improvement.
I sort of met my goal of doing a 5k last month. After pulling a hamstring a couple of weeks before the event it was seriously in question for a while. By the time the big day arrived I was able to walk the distance with some very careful running thrown in. Since then my leg has healed completely so I am back to pushing my cardio conditioning. I alternate running and walking as my heart rate and gasping for breath allow. It does get better every time so that’s encouraging.
My current crazy idea for a goal is to meet the Air Force physical training standards for my age group. This is nearly 30 years after getting my honorable discharge, with much of that time spent in a recliner. So just to make things interesting I have set out to do something in my fifties I had a hard time with in my twenties. So far I have met the requirement for waist size after losing thirty pounds and I can do the required amount of push-ups. Next on the list is the mile and a half timed run and I am closing in on that. The biggest hurdle will be all the sit-ups. My body wasn’t created to do a sit-up.
What kind of goals have you set for yourself? What challenges are you putting in your own path? Goal-setting can be a very helpful tool to help accomplish better health. As far as we know the next year is scheduled to happen in the cosmos. Where would you like to be three months, six months, and a year from now?
November 15, 2015 update: I did it! I just ran a qualifying time for Air Force PT! I'll have to get back to you on the sit-ups, but I am really happy right now!