Going for Gold
Watching the Summer Olympics is inspiring! I’m so impressed with the drive of these athletes. It makes me want to push myself just a bit harder. To do that, I’d like to re-model some of my behaviors after the Olympians.
They develop intrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals should speak to your internal experience, such as “feeling stronger,” instead of external goals like “to look skinnier.” The kind of goals that motivate you to get up and out of your regular routine – that gives purpose – that drives you to do things because they matter.
They train everyday. For us novice athletes, training everyday would be 60 minutes of exercise a day, as recommended by the American Council on Exercise. This could be anything from walking to playing soccer with friends to gardening. Do what you love and what gives you joy.
They fuel their body with healthy living. They eat nourishing foods that provide their body and minds with the energy they need to perform. They surround themselves people who are positive, supportive, and encouraging. They listen to their bodies and know when to push and when to rest.
They follow their dreams. They may have been born with natural abilities to excel in certain events. However, they possess an internal drive to train everyday, never give up and reach goals that represent the maximum possible capacity of the human body.
So first, let’s determine and announce our goals. Write them down, tell our loved ones, scribble them on the sidewalk with chalk, or say them out loud to the night sky. These values will give us the kick-in-the-pants needed when we just don’t feel like exercising.
Second, I propose we focus on the behaviors we want to see in our lives, the ones we already do that fall in line with our principles. At the same time, let’s avoid fixating on the behaviors that we don’t want. When an Olympian sprinter kicks over a hurdle, they don’t stop to dwell on their mistake – they keep running! So don’t let one or two or even three slip-ups take away your momentum.
The reality is simple. The American Council on Exercise reports that 50 percent of novice exercisers drop out within the first six months, and that only 25 percent of Americans engage in the recommended levels of daily physical activity. Developing your own meaningful goals will give you focus and the motivation that will drive you when you feel like giving up. If you keep at it, you position yourself along side the 25 percent of Americans that are putting time into their self-care and long-term health.