June 27, 2011

Trainer Tip: How much do we want it?

by Staff, Douglas County Health Department

Joseph O’Meara

If asked, a majority of people would probably say they would like to improve their quality of life. This often includes the desire to eat better and exercise. A common phrase related to this is “I want to eat better,” or, “I’ve always wanted to run a 5K.” When told by people they “always wanted to be a writer,” the author Stephen King is fond of replying, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon.” If you want to write, King says, you write.

The same is true of diet and exercise. This is something we all must face. How much do we really want improvements if we do little to go after them? Have a serious conversation with yourself and be frank about why you want a change. This is not about beating yourself up (“I’m lazy and out of shape.”), but rather getting honest in order to motivate yourself to get what you want (“I can be more than I am right now and am going to be.”).

One of the key steps to achieving a goal is to make it specific, include action steps for achieving it, and specify why you want to do it. Each year I take the time to sit down and write down my sports-related goals. I select races I want to do, write them down with dates, and then write down the action steps I will need to take to get there. I know myself too well. If I don’t put it in writing, I will allow life to creep in and set me off-track in accomplishing something I claim to be important.

If I am doing a triathlon and my swim has become weak, I may include, “Find someone to clean up my stroke by May 1st.” Under this will be a step that includes listing the people who could help me and calling them up. I also include the ‘why,’ even it is as pragmatic as “I don’t want to drown.” Writing something down helps me hold myself accountable, but I also must constantly remind myself of what I am trying to do, how I am going to do it, and why I want to. This involves reviewing the goals each day and making sure I have set aside time to work on them.

Discipline around goals is important. Without clear, specific, and purposeful goals, all the diet books or exercise equipment in the world won’t help us achieve a better quality of life. With a concrete goal in front of you, lifestyle changes become more manageable and there is something to inspire you to action each day.

How much do you want it? Write it down and go for it!

Active Living, Healthy Eating


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