Whenever I coach or train someone I do my best to get to know what their goals are. “What do you want to do, where do you want to take this?” I’ll ask them. Of course, I’ve heard a wide variety of answers over the years. But the majority of people who seek out fitness success have goals that involve improving their appearance. They want to look better. Sure, they want to be healthy and have more energy and have less stress and live longer. But the immediate focus is on affecting how they feel about themselves by improving how they look.
In fact, many of them bring or send me a picture of what they want to look like. From brand new, entry level clients I have gotten pictures of Paige Hathaway, Elaine Goodlad, Kim Lyons, Erin Stern, Tanya Merryman, Monica Brant and Michelle Lewin. Some of the images were via the Internet, others were print ads or even magazine covers. These clients walked in with some pretty lofty goals and big expectations! And that is perfectly fine, but only to an extent.
I say this because I know it is a trap. It can be a very dangerous trap for many. So I try to help them appreciate just how accomplished these women are and how much time and work it took for them to reach this point. The covers of Elaine were after she’d been training for 16-17 years. Tanya was the first mom to ever win Fitness America Nationals and is one of the most athletically talented people I’ve ever known. Erin Stern looked nothing like she does now when she did her first show, even though she was a national level track athlete
It is perfectly fine to aspire to be the best, even better than the best. Why would you aspire to simply be average or just one of the crowd? Shooting for the moon can make the journey a lot more fun and exciting. But the loftier the goal, the longer and harder it will be to reach. Which is also fine, if you understand that.
Along with that, you have to understand that you will never be Paige or Michelle or Monica. But you can be you! You can be a sensational and wonderful version of you! And that could actually surpass anything you’ve imagined.
But what you can’t do is beat yourself up for not being “there” already. That’s where the trap is laid. And if you don’t recognize it, it will take you down and make your fitness journey miserable.
What you can’t do is agonize over every step you still have to take.
What you can’t do is stop living the rest of your life to only focus on fitness.
What you can’t do is minimize all your other fitness accomplishments because you don’t have “the look” or “the weight” yet.
What you can’t do is take all the fun and joy and self-discovery out of the journey because you are too focused on arriving at the destination.
What you can’t do is fail to see everything you do have because you only look at everything you don’t have.
That is not fitness.
That is not life.
That is not fun.
That should not be you!
Photo: Terry Goodlad