I’ve got a long, complicated history with getting in shape. When I was young, I played a lot of tennis, a lot of basketball. Staying in shape was easy in the context of organized and social sports. But as an adult, fitness became a task and one that often fell to the bottom (and through it) of my list of priorities.
I’ve gone in fits and starts. I’ve set goals to lose 20 pounds and achieved them or gotten close. I’ve ‘committed’ myself to working out or running or swimming a certain number of days every week and been good for a few days, but a business trip, an injury or illness has gotten in the way. I miss a day, two days, a week and end up back on the couch and too busy and too unmotivated to get back into it.
But I need to get into shape. I need to lose weight. My physical health needs it. My mental health needs it. My sanity needs it. When I committed to focusing 2016 on iterative steps toward achieving specific goals, I had to take a hard look at the way I’ve approached fitness in the past and make changes to help ensure I am successful.
I want to make writing a regular, daily part of my life. I figured out the result could be eight and a half books.
I want to make reading a daily activity. I figured out it would be realistic to read a book every two weeks.
I want to force myself to be uncomfortable and think about being understood, not just heard. I figured out that language learning would be the way to do that.
If I want to make fitness something I work toward, I need to think of achievements, not results. Losing weight is a result. The achievement is working my way toward something.
So I looked at my near-misses. I looked at the things I’ve wanted to do as a means to an end and made them an end in and of themselves.
To that end, I’ve committed this year to do the following:
Run my first 5K.
Do 100 push-ups, 100 squats and 200 crunches in one session.
Swim a mile.
Do 20 pull-ups.
Survive my first CrossFit class.
These are achievements, accomplishments I can work toward. The result will be a healthier body, a healthier mind, a happier scale.
Knowing what I wanted to achieve this year, I then looked for programs and services that will allow me to work daily toward achieving these goals. Stepping on the scale will not be the test of my progress. Progress will be the test of my progress.
I’m hoping this mindset shift will enable me to adapt and adjust to the things that have derailed me in the past. I’m hoping this new approach will allow me to remain focused and committed when life gets in the way. Taking big goals and breaking them down into small, measurable steps is what iteration is all about. It’s the difference, I hope, in my approach to fitness that will allow me to make 2016 different.