So the other week I wrote a post about worshipping our bodies (read here). Which I stand by what I said – especially about being aware of what we’re posting on social media and how we’re posting it. It’s easy to use and abuse social media (guilty as charged), which is why it’s all the more important to be aware of what we’re posting and how it may come across. Anyway, moving forward to todays’s reason for posting – goals.
So this summer has involved facing various challenges, and what’s the first thing to go when that happens? For me, exercise. It just goes out the window when I get overwhelmed with life and feel like I can’t deal. Things have settled down a bit so I started exercising again.
The first day I went back to the gym I was literally dreading it. I was so afraid I would walk in and feel judged. I was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of weights and other fitness equipment. I just wanted to run. But it’s SO hot + humid that running outside just didn’t seem feasible. That and I’m allergic to grass soooo running outside in hot + humid weather where people cut their grass weekly — well, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I resolved to running on a treadmill.
I have always hated treadmill running. I think it’s super boring. So I got on the handy dandy pinterest and looked up a treadmill running workout. And that’s what I did. I had to adjust the speed a little bit and I played with the incline just to make running more comfortable for me. So the “program” I found has a walk, jog, run pattern and the suggested run pace is a 10 minute mile – which was definitely enough to push me, but I used to run a 10 min mile. Heck, in high school I used to run like 7:30/8 minute miles for my race pace and a 10 minute mile was my “easy” pace. And one day while I was running my little routine I was like you know what, I bet I can get myself to a point where my easy pace is a 10 min mile again.
After I finished that run, the owner of the gym (who’s a runner and hangs out there all the time) complimented my running (cue internal happy dance). Then we got to talking and I told her that I kinda wanted to get my mile time down and she encouraged me in that, asked me a couple questions and said if I was super consistent I could get it down to that by October and I was like okay, let’s do this. And just like that I set a goal.
I’ve never been one for goal setting. And I’ve especially never been one for fitness goal setting. I’ve never liked the idea of setting a “I want to lose 20 pounds by Oct 1) because I’ve watched too many people struggle with eating disorders and I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could develop one. I could easily see myself starting to obsess over it and didn’t want to do that. BUT setting a goal to get my mile time down has been highly motivating.
I had my monthly appointment with my trainer the next day so I told her what my goal was and we talked about how to incorporate resistance and strength training in and she taught me how to foam roll. Best. Thing. Ever. If you run and you don’t, you should.
Anyway, this past Monday on my run I pushed myself a little bit. I used the same essential pattern I’d been doing, but tried to walk less and jog/run more and increase my speed a smidge. So Tuesday I got to the gym after work and it was like packed and I was a little overwhelmed, but the treadmills were empty so I was like you know what, I’ll just do a mile to get a some cardio in and warm up but was still feeling ambitious so I wanted to see if I could run a mile at the 10 minute mile pace, and you know what, I did it! It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. It motivated me to keep going. And showed me a little fruit of the progress I am already making with just 2 weeks of exercising again.
So my little encouragement to you today is to set a goal, but set it in a way that works for you. I always felt like I had to set a goal in a particular way – like the example I used earlier – I want to lose x amount of weight in y amount of time. But what I’m learning is that kind of a goal doesn’t work for me. But I love running. It’s something I’m passionate about and that brings me joy. So setting a goal to become a better or faster runner is a lot more tangible and makes a lot more sense for me.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to set goals that work for you. Being different is good. Embrace who YOU are and be the best YOU, you can be!