I like to consider myself goal oriented but sometimes I call ‘an audible’ on the goal at hand.
For example, I might say to myself on a Saturday that I have off that my goal is to enjoy a day trip with the family but when Saturday arrives I might decide that overhauling the basement storage situation is a better a goal.
When it comes to health and fitness, these on-the-fly goal adjustments are fraught with dangers.
First the good. I will sneak in a treadmill workout with a goal of running for 30 minutes. However, as 30 minutes approaches I will notice that the machine says 2.78 miles so I will say to myself “just keeping running until you hit 3 miles.” But, when I hit three miles it’s only 7 more minutes until hitting a 40 minute workout. When I approach 40 minutes I reflect on the 15 minute increments that break our hours into quarters and I say to myself “you can do anything for five more minutes” Voila, I managed to workout for 15 minutes longer than my original goal. This kind of audible is clearly beneficial for me. I wish it would happen more often but I often call an audible in the wrong direction (see example below) of getting a workout in because the alternative goals are just easier to meet.
Moving on to the bad. I have been tracking with MyFitnessPal for nearly two years now. When I am consistent (e.g. minimum of 4 weeks in a row), I know that I meet my weight loss goals so my daily goal is to track. But, along comes a bad call night when my tracking lapses or it’s a day like Thanksgiving and by noon my daily allocated calories are spent so why keep tracking for the rest of the meal or it’s my kid’s birthday and I absolutely must have a cupcake but I just can’t bring myself to see the caloric value staring me back in the face. I just say to myself “oh well, tomorrow’s another day.” The problem is that if tomorrow also presents a tracking challenge (for example, last week Thanksgiving was followed by a busy 32 hours on call was followed by my kid’s birthday) then I just say “oh well, I will just start tracking again next week.” And, if next week is an on-service week….
You get the picture, it’s so easy to put off this kind of a goal and the ensuing cycle of self-sabotage is vicious. If I make it to the workout in the first place or if I make it to my final meal of the day very close to being in my daily range for caloric intake, I am apt to meet my goals. In fact, the positive feelings of being on the mark inspire me to be an over-achiever during those moments in time (see the good above). But if I let myself down, I am liable to give up, hate myself for giving up, and be so mired in self-hatred that I can’t pick myself up again.
This same scenario is why 3 years passed between attempts at basement storage overhaul. The hate is so much easier to feel than the positive energy that will surely follow a challenging workout, an excess pound shed, or an alphabetically arranged garage storage unit. I called an audible on writing about this topic. You’ll have to wait and read about guilt-ridden mom sporting some gold heels on a later date, I am trying to get motivated for a Monday morning workout and my first complete week of tracking in a long time.