I met with a personal trainer last week and she said something pretty damn profound to me. We were doing the regular question and answer thing. She was asking me about my lifestyle and what I do to deal with stress and blah blah blah. Then she asked me what my goals were. “I guess I just want to be less jiggly.”
“Okay, so that’s something. Is there something a little more quantifiable we could put down as a goal? Maybe a certain pair of jeans you’d like to fit into or a weight you would like to be?”
“Nothing I can think of. I mean, I really don’t want to put a weight down. I struggle with body image issues and I don’t want to throw out some arbitrary number to define my success.”
“That is totally understandable. Let me ask you this – what does success look like? How will you know when you’re there?”
“Hmmmm….I haven’t thought of that before. I guess I just want to look in the mirror and not hate what I see. Or pick myself apart for every perceived flaw.”
“That is a really great thing to work toward. So, when you look in the mirror and you like or even love what you see, what do you look like?”
Damn, Dr. Phil! Can’t you just watch me do crunches or something? How will I know when I’m there? A number is easy to monitor. But, a feeling? Well, what if I like what I see in the mirror one day and not the next? Was I successful on Monday but not on Tuesday?
Maybe this is why I’ve been struggling to get my “motivation” back – I don’t have a “why”. The last time I lost weight, it was to get to a certain number. I found great pleasure in watching the number on the scale down. Unfortunately, I had tied my whole identity into it and dedicated most of my time to it. When schedules changed and life got busy, I didn’t feel I could dedicate as much time to working out and such so, the weight came back. That’s the reason I feel like I can’t tie my “why” into a number. Been there, done that, got the skinny ass jeans I can’t fit in anymore to prove it.
So do it for your health, you might say. Meh, that doesn’t work for me. It’s like telling a teenager to start wearing eye cream now to prevent wrinkles in the future. She would think, “Whatever. Even if I do get wrinkles it will be SO long from now.” She doesn’t want to wear it because it doesn’t seem like anything in the immediate future. Wrinkles are so far away, they don’t seem real. Currently my blood pressure is optimal, as is my cholesterol and all the other crap they checked with a blood test. (Except for my weight and body fat percentage.) Not good – “optimal”. So, it doesn’t seem like a real thing to me.
Stress relief. Well, that’s a good “why”. But you know what I like to do when I get stressed? Sleep. I also like to eat. In my bed, right before I go to sleep. I don’t think, “Damn, I should go for a run, I would feel better.” Just thinking about working out makes me more stressed. Yeah, I know. I’m a mess.
Really, I’m still looking for my “why”. I can’t stop thinking about what fitness success “looks like” for me. I had a really shitty week this past week and although I had committed to four days of working out, I managed one. One day. I was stressed and crabby and just didn’t give a shit. I guess I wasn’t really committed after all.
Commitment is an act, not a word. – Jean Paul Sartre
I’m starting small – back to basics. Success looks like honoring my commitment. For the next 8 weeks, if I keep my scheduled work outs, that’s success. I’m not worried about a scale, a pair of jeans, or a body fat percentage. I’m focused on acting, not talking about it. I’ve done enough talking. It’s time for action. It’s time to find out what MY success looks like.
How about you? What is your “why”? What does your success look like?