It’s that time of the year again – time for New Year’s resolutions. Have you decided on yours? Do you even bother anymore?
When it comes to setting goals, you’ve probably heard it all before: they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented. We follow these principles, yet we end up repeating the same cycle as the year before: we’re pumped up get back to the gym and eat healthy…this happens for 2 or 3 weeks…and then “life happens” and everything goes off-course.
But this year’s going to be different, right?
I’ve been training clients for over a decade and January continues to be the busiest time of the year for business. However, like clockwork, come mid-February the gyms go back to their regular traffic and the new faces start to fade away.
Over the years, I’ve observed the various goals client’s set…and more importantly, why they choose those particular goals. Time and time again, their goals point to an underlying motivation that stems from some form of insecurity. For example, when I had just started training, I had a client come in to see me who was slightly overweight and hadn’t worked out for over two years. With some hesitation, she mumbled quietly that she was a personal trainer and was ashamed to be seeking formal training. At that moment, she shared her insecurity and motivation – yet I didn’t explore it further. In my haste to get things moving, we spent the rest of the initial intake discussing her goals, laying out an action plan, and setting our training schedule.
She was psyched.
For about a month, we had solid sessions every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6am…then the rest of her 20-session training package started collecting dust. She wasn’t answering my emails or calls and I haven’t seen her since.
Some time later, as I was preparing to leave that particular gym and transition to the Naturopathic Medicine program I’m presently enrolled in, I came across her file and reflected on the experience. In hindsight, I could see how it was easy to get caught up in goal setting without addressing the underlying issue. She was ashamed that as a trainer herself, she was not able to be self-motivated/sufficient/reliant. But what happened to her that led to this two-year slide with minimal exercise?
I’m grateful that she felt safe to be open and honest in our initial discussion. She shared that she had been thrown a curveball and she was struggling to recover in various aspects of her life. Yet I chose not to explore that further. Maybe it was beyond my scope of practice. Maybe I was not ready to manage all that may have come out of that box once it was opened. Either way, I assumed she could just shake it off and start fresh.
The reality is that we’re not build like that. Scars need time to heal and not everyone can move ahead at the same pace.
What I’m getting at is this: before you start setting your goals for 2013, explore why it’s even important to you. Is it to fill a void? Is it to appease your family, friends, or colleagues? Or is it to nurture a deeper part of your being? Whether your goal is to drop 10 pounds or increase your deadlift by 10%, if you focus your energy on being honest about your motivation and put in the inner work that addresses the insecurities that lay at the root, you will better position yourself to see lasting changes. Changes that impact every aspect of your life.
There are a lot of ways to start this inner work and everyone will find something that works best for them. If you’re interesting in exploring these optons, email me anytime, as we receive training in various forms of lifestyle counselling in Naturopathic Medicine. I will do my best to point you in the right direction. But for now, all I will say is be honest, compassionate, and patient with yourself through this process. You deserve to look and feel great – and you have what it takes to make this happen. Shedding the weight of an insecurity is a great start when you want to see lasting changes in all aspects of your life.