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Goals. What are they good for?
A recap on coaching topics, a rant about goals, and why I'm full of hypocrisy. Oh boy.. open kimono here we go!
Hi there, Sweaty Pals! How are you this week?
It’s been a while since I’ve chatted with a lot of you - I’ve been busy with coaching emails for my paid subscribers and getting back on board with my training clients since I took time off to have a non-essential organ removed. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about hydration and stress management. Here’s a super quick recap for you in case you like this sort of information and want to subscribe to support my work.
Hydration is important, but how you get those fluids in is less important. If you’d like to get your fluids in with a box of lemonade ice blocks, or ten cups of tea - absolutely go for it. It doesn’t have to be water all the time. I know, shock horror, we’ve had it rammed down our throats that we need to drink 3-4L of water every day, and sure. If you can do that without feeling uninspired with life, go for it. But not many people can, and so like everything you just have to go with what feels right, what feels achievable and dial that up or back each day.
We’ve also touched on stress management. This is a tricky one, because I am obviously not a doctor or a specialist on stress. And it’s very easy for me to tell people to chill out from behind my screen. Stress sits on a spectrum much like everything else “health related”. Mega amounts of stress on a consistent basis can cause our blood pressure to rise, which can cause our heart to become unhappy. Most of us with a moderate amount of stress in our lives might notice problems with sleep, irritability, loss of appetite, or wanting to eat more than we need to, more often. Any one of those things can make us feel a bit bleargh, and so in our quest for feeling better, figuring out a way to feel more balanced in life might be something you’d want to do. It could be that you reduce the amount of activities that cause stress, or if that’s not possible, try some breathing strategies, focus on getting more or a better quality of sleep, and of course, if you’re concerned at all, please see your GP.
Recaps aside, what I wanted to chat to you about today is exercise, because, well I’m a personal trainer so exercise and movement is my jam. Specifically though, I wanted to talk about goals. Right now, I have none. And I’m ok with that.
There seems to be a push for people who join a gym or start up a new exercise programme to talk about goals and what they’d like to achieve. Even I ask my PT clients “What would you like to happen within x months of coming to the gym?”
But in my overthinking it style, why do we have goals? My goals last year were to be able to increase my lifts and bench to a bigger number by the time Santa arrived.
Aside from being able to lift a heavier weight range, aside from getting stronger in order to be able to lift heavier, and aside from some nondescript physiological thing going on in my body that could look or head towards achieving health [eyeroll] why was it so important to me to set a goal and then work towards achieving it?
In the end I didn’t achieve the goal I set. Life got in the way, priorities took over and I just didn’t do it.
Was it the end of the world? Did Santa put me on the bad kid list?
Literally, nothing I could write home about happened because I did not achieve my lifting goal. And at the time I was really upset. I really wanted to be able to lift heavier.
Why did I want that?
Because everyone else around me was lifting heavier. One of my good friends was zooming ahead of me and while I was stoked for her, I was also disappointed in myself that I couldn’t get my shit together enough to be able to at least keep up.
In my PT practice and in these emails and my coaching emails I talk about the dial.
Only do what you can do on any given day. Regard your sleep, hydration and nutrition abilities against your exercise. Your menstrual cycle affects damn near everything, too.
Only do what you can do and stop beating yourself up if you can’t lift the heavy thing today.
But me saying this to you, behind this screen, well. The hypocrisy is mad isn’t it.
Here I am saying take it easy, pal.. only do what you can do, and move your body for enjoyment first. Yet I am asking my clients for their time bound goals. I am asking them to create a goal and then work bloody hard to achieve it by a certain date.
Such bullshit, huh.
So as of today, all the time-bound goals are out the window.
I mean, surely the goal of exercise is to enjoy it? And if that’s the case, setting a “I will go to the gym 3-4 times a week” goal before you know if you have the ability to do so and enjoy it seems a little wonky.
Forcing yourself to the gym when you absolutely don’t have the spoons to go seems pointless. It just doesn’t seem sustainable to me. How many times of forcing yourself to go to the gym when you aren’t feeling it can you do before you end up becoming a gym fee donor instead of an engaged member?
Having a dial works. If you like the sound of it, prepare a dial. It’s just a list of all the exercise activities you enjoy doing with a ranking of how much energy and sustenance you need to do them successfully.
Then, when it’s your exercise time, have a look at the list. Got the capacity for a HIIT session? Blood good on you, I hope you smash it. Can you maybe summon yourself to a set of exercise snacks while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil? Then do that. Maybe it’s a walk, or a run, or a resistance session. Maybe it’s nothing.
So how about this for a goal?
“I will pay attention to my body and my needs and allow myself the space and permission to do what I can do at any given time on any given day”
See you next time
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