I was a bit surprised recently when it was claimed that more people break their New Year’s Resolution of keeping fit than of giving up smoking. For me, keeping fit is a way of life, but that doesn’t mean I have days where either I can’t be bothered or where I find working out a struggle.
The secret to maintaining a goal is keeping the vision, of knowing what it is that you want. Too often people give up after the first couple of weeks because they think they lose the ‘will power’. It is my belief that ‘will power’ doesn’t exist. You either want to do something or you don’t.
Two of my personal goals this year are (a) to be the most improved person (physically) at my local gym this year and (b) to take 40 minutes off my time in the Paras 10 race in September. I’ve been setting myself physical goals for 29 years, but the one that I’ve held the longest (and which I’m fast approaching) is to look good at 50. I’ll be 47 in a few weeks and so far I feel I’m doing okay, although taking my measurements yesterday would confirm that it gets more difficult to stay in shape the older you get. I accept that these goals are based on vanity, but I do have a good mixture of goals mixed in there with them.
Going back to my original point that most people struggle to maintain a physical training programme why exactly is that? The fact is that it’s hard work running, swimming, going to the gym, taking a dance class or taking some other form of exercise. It requires discipline, desire and a willingness to accept a certain amount of physical discomfort. As we’ve read a million times, the body is designed to move. The modern lifestyle is a disaster for our caveman physical structures. Unfortunately sitting in a chair, watching tv and having a beer or a take-away seems like the way to go. The problem occurs when you either step on the scales, catch sight of your belly in a mirror or no longer fit in your clothes. As with all goals you will do more to avoid pain than you will to experience pleasure. This means that if it hurts more to not do exercise than to do it you will do the exercise and here’s the weird bit, you will enjoy it. Why? Because in a few weeks you will start to see the results either by the reduction of the tape measure, or growth if you are trying to build muscle, the scales not groaning as much or by looking better when you look in the mirror.
The game is to keep the eye on the prize and that prize is your vision. Motivation never lasts, but vision is something you create.