Today I am grateful for challenges and pep talks (and also the fact that the second season of New Girl is now on Netflix instant queue. Since I don’t have cable I’m always behind on shows, but I love not having to wait a full week for a new episode. Although the ability to just hit play for another episode is becoming a bit of a problem…).
Back to challenges. I’ve been going back and forth for about two weeks (though to be honest it’s probably much longer) about this whole 5K goal. I started training last Tuesday and to say it’s been rocky is a bit of an understatement.
The thing is, I hate it. I mean, I get visibly frustrated when I talk to anyone about it (but that’s probably in part due to my flare for dramatics and need to prove a point).
What frustrates me is that I love zumba and kickboxing. Heck, I look forward to spinning — even at 5:40 on a Tuesday morning! For a while I was actually subjecting myself to back-to-back zumba and kickboxing classes because I couldn’t pick one over the other. But to walk/jog for just 35 minutes even on a gorgeous day? Torture. Plus I’m bitter that at some point I’ll have to trade a workout I actually like to fit in my walk/jog routine (though my knees will thank me for trading off instead of doing both).
All this had me thinking about goals. When I co-taught the health class, the first thing we explain about goal setting is that it has to be something that you want to do. It shouldn’t be something your doctor wants you to do or that you feel like you should do, but something you actually want to do. And recently I found a magazine article (now hanging on the inspiration board at work — I can’t help it!) that touches on that very notion for when people set goals for things like a 30 Before 30 list:
“I can’t tell you how many times people offered me suggestions. ‘Why not skydiving?’ one well-intentioned friend asked. The more pertinent question was ‘Why skydiving?’ I couldn’t come up with a good answer for that, which told me that it belonged on her list, not mine.
As you write things down, don’t be afraid to edit or feel that you have to aim for any specific number, either. Do 10, 20, 100 things — it’s entirely up to you. The key is to set the wheels in motion. Make a list, check it twice (or three or four times), and think of it not as a ‘to do’ list, but rather a set of step-by-step instructions for building a better life.”
So where did that leave me? When I started to ponder the “why a 5K” question, all my reasons seem to fall flat. I felt like I wanted to do it just because everyone else seems to have crossed a 5K or half-marathon off their list. Why not me? Plus what would other people think if I nixed a goal I’d talked about so much and for so long?
Based on that terrible rational and the fact that I dreaded it, I was all set to give up on it.
But then I had a really great pep talk the other night with the librarian (coincidentally my co-teacher for the health class). I’m probably paraphrasing (and thus making it slightly less impactful), but the gist of the comment that stuck with me was this: “Liz, the thing is you could go out and do a 5K this weekend. You might not be able to run the whole thing, but you can already complete a 5K, so don’t make it bigger than it is.”
That’s when it clicked. It’s not just about finishing a 5K or trying to prove that I’m fit (which I admit was big part of my frustration as well — walking/jogging wears me out me more than a freakin’ hour-long spinning class).
I’ve realized it’s about something more, and more importantly, it’s about me. Screw what everyone else thinks or can do. It’s about challenging myself and, in essence, building a better life. I love my group fitness classes, but you don’t necessarily progress week after week like you do when you’re training for something. I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I’m relatively healthy and actually enjoy (gasp!) physical activity, and I want to capitalize on that to see what I’m capable of when I put my mind to it.
And if I find I still hate it in a few more weeks, then I’ll know. But at least I’ll have tried instead of quitting two weeks in just because it’s more difficult than I envisioned. So tonight after work when I’m doing my walk/jog thing (hopefully a little less begrudgingly…) I’ll be thankful that I’m sticking with it. My body hasn’t let me down so far, and that in and of itself it also something to be grateful about.