We all know the story. You start with this great idea or plan. Perhaps you’re going to finally lose the weight, once and for all. Perhaps you’re training for your first triathlon. Perhaps you’re going to finally learn how to knit. Your course is determined!
You start out SO! EXCITED! and gung ho and full of motivation to climb this mountain. You’ve cleaned out your pantry and bought healthy groceries with lots of organic meats and fruits and veggies and whole grains, finally bought that bike, or finally got your bag of knitting supplies out and on the couch instead of in storage like they have been for the last 3 years. You are set up for success and ready. You have a map, a plan, a compass, and you’re ready.
You eat your veggies and fruits like a champ. You start your first week of training and you’re out there doing it. You get out those needles and yarn and by golly you’re knitting again. You are in motion! You are sailing the high seas of goal accomplishing, and you are heading straight towards your target.
Then, it inevitably happens. Here comes the storm. You attend a party, and fall face first into a plate of cake (that’s the only explanation of why you ate it, right?) and a bag of doritos. Your alarm “forgets” to go off, and you miss your morning training session. Your cat tears apart your almost-finished scarf and breaks one of your knitting needles. You, dear adventurer, are off course, and have some choices to make.
When you voyage on a boat, you certainly don’t find yourself lost and drop anchor in the middle of the ocean and stay there. If you see obstacles, you make a plan to avoid them instead of waiting to collide with them. If you hit something, you patch up your boat as quickly as possible and bail the water out so you can keep going. Makes sense, right? You certainly wouldn’t sabotage your boat… what good would that do?
So why don’t we do that with our goals? This is the 21st day after New Years Day, which means that the majority of “Resolutionaries” have given up. The gym is starting to thin out. McDonalds drive through lines are as crowded as normal. Most of our goals are somewhere between the closet and the trash.
And it’s not as if these resolutionaries are making conscious decisions to give up. They’re not turning back to shore and saying, “nope, that eating healthy is a mistake, back to crap for me”. They’re simply drifting in the middle of the ocean, having lost momentum towards their goal. Perhaps they hit a rock, and decided that patching up the boat is too hard and they don’t feel like it, and are just letting the water swallow up their S.S. Hopesanddreams. Perhaps they set out one way, and got a little turned around, and now are lost and floating aimlessly.
Since it doesn’t make sense to just give up and float in a journey, how does it make sense in life? Yet, today markes the day that most resolutions die. Now, it’s not to say that giving up on some dreams is a bad thing. I have dreams I’m actively not pursuing because they conflict with my priorities and you only have so much time and give-a-care in each day. While I would love to write a novel and be a rockstar and paint oils again, I realize this is not realistic with other things I’ve taken on. However, if you’ve made a resolution, it’s most likely that you had some care and passion for this THING. It’s not an idle want. It’s a thing you very much desire.
So give me this. Start again NOW. Not tomorrow. Right this moment. Get your fruit and veggies. Go for a swim. Stop by the store and get more yarn and needles. Give it a full month. That’s right – if you’re sick of it by February 18th, go ahead and abandon it. However, you need to do two things to feel good about this:
1) Give it your all for that month. No drifting. Bail out the boat. Get around the obstacles or bail water quickly if you hit them. Actively steer your ship towards your goal.
2) On February 18, you have to consciously give up. You have to admit to yourself, “Self, this is not the direction I want to go. I am turning back to shore/changing course to <insert new goal here>.” No drifting here either. It’s a choice, not chosing due to a lack of one.
I’m not impervious to this. Perhaps I’m writing it this week because it’s the motivation I need to hear. My training is going well, but some sessions are really frustrating. Trying to figure out my food intake, diet quality, and training fueling is definitely an art, not a science, and it’s an art I’m far from perfecting. While my body fat has gone down and my lean body mass has gone up, my weight has gone up a bit and that’s generally not encouraging 2.5 weeks into doing all the right things.
But, I’ve set my course. My sights are set on rocking Buffalo Springs 70.3 in June with the best body composition I can achieve between now and then. I’ve got Joe Friel’s triathlon training plan as my map and Matt Fitzgerald’s endurance athlete eating plan as my compass. It’s success or bust. I’m all in.
Let the journey begin.