Episode 336 – Do You Constantly Feel ‘Behind’ in Your Fitness and Weight Loss Goals?Posted on October 1, 2018
We received an email with some feedback from one of our dedicated and loyal listeners JR. JR has been listening from almost the beginning of the show and as far as I can tell is someone who exercises pretty consistently, he just wanted to let me know how he has been relating to the show and he’s applied it to his life to help improve things. JR I really appreciate the feedback and hope you continue to stay consistent and get value out of the show.
I’m not going to read the whole email here, because it’s quite long, but I do want to read how he opens it because something really stood out for me.
I’m about a month behind on podcasts, but I wanted to shoot you a note thanking you for three of your relatively recent episodes.
I want to pause on this specific phrase, ‘I’m a month behind on podcasts.’ It’s an interesting phrase really, I understand what he’s saying, that there’s a bunch of podcasts that have been released and he hasn’t had enough time yet to listen to them, but intends to. In other words he has set the goal of consuming podcast information, because he feels listening to and having the information in these podcasts will help him improve his life.
Have you ever set a goal and then felt like you’ve fallen behind on achieving that goal?
It’s a phrase I hear all the time,
I’m behind on my weight loss goal…..
I’m behind on my training……
I’m behind on my career…….
I’m behind…..I’m behind…..I’m behind…..I’m behind in life
My question for you is, what exactly is it you’re behind?
Let’s think about this for a minute:
Are you training for a race and you need to be able to run a specific distance?
Is it a project at work where if you don’t get it done on time you’ll get fired?
Is it that you need to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain day?
Maybe a better way to put it is what will happen if you don’t ‘catch up’?
Will you lose your chance of winning a gold medal, will you get fired from work or will you just be mad at yourself for not reaching your goal? Or is it worse than that and nothing will happen.
Consider this, especially in the context of fitness, nutrition and weight loss, the last time you set a goal for yourself, ended up behind on your goal and then you didn’t reach it; what happened? I know when I don’t reach a goal sometimes I feel shame, maybe a bit guilty, I might even give up on the goal all together or put it on the back burner until I come up with what I feel is a different plan and a better strategy. Any way I slice it, I usually have negative feelings about it, and I can only assume that most people feel a similar way as I do after not reaching a goal. But, if I zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture of what actually happened, the short answer is, nothing, at least nothing with any real significant consequence, my family still loves me, I still have a roof over my head, I have relatively easy access to food, I still have all my friends, I’m still alive, life is still for all intents and purposes pretty good, even though I didn’t reach my goal.
I think the real questions are this:
Why do you feel behind, if there’s nothing to be behind?
What or how can you reframe your goals so you don’t feel behind? Goals after all aren’t useless, I mean I wouldn’t want you to be floating with a sense of meaninglessness from one activity to the next without giving any thought to your existence and not caring about whether or not you improve. I think most people want to strive towards something better and improve themselves and their community in some way.
Sorry, back to the question. How can you reframe your goals?
Let’s look at an example – You set the goal of doing 10 push-ups in a row.
Conventional wisdom says that’s measured and specific, it seems pretty realistic for most people and if you want to get stronger it’s a simple exercise to start with, many of you have probably set a similar goal in the past, but what’s wrong with it….. You don’t have any control about whether or not you will ultimately be able to do 10 push-ups in a row. We should look at what you can control.
What part of doing push-ups do you have control over?
You can choose the time of day you practice doing push-ups
You can choose the level of difficulty of push-up, wall, knees, feet etc.
You can choose the speed at which you practice the push-ups
You can choose where to do your push-ups
You can choose to do push-ups with a friend
I’m sure there are more, but I think we have enough to come up with a new better goal.
Why don’t you try, what would be a better goal?
Everyday I’m going to do as many push-ups as I can from my knees, no matter where I am, right before I eat my lunch. We could even take it one step further, Once I can do 15 from my knees, I will switch to my feet.
The new goal targets only things we have control over, there’s nothing to be behind. If I were to tie this back into JR’s podcast example that started this at the beginning of the show, the goal might be this. I’m going to listen to podcasts by order of what I find most interesting everyday on my commute, because there are so many incredible and fascinating shows I may not be able to get to all of them and that’s okay.