Fortunately or unfortunately for some, the race to achieve personal fitness goals has an infinite timeline, because it is entirely up to YOU! I understand the desire for people to accomplish goals in a short period of time, because I am guilty of this as well. When it comes to lifestyle changes however, it might be wise to follow the lessons learned from the tortoise, rather than the hare.
The Classic Story
We remember the classic story about the race between the super fast Hare and the slow methodical Tortoise. The Hare, who is naturally so much faster, gets a big lead decides to take a nap, and eventually the Tortoise wins the race.
Are you the Hare or the Tortoise?
Most people (myself included) like to picture themselves as ‘the Hare’, training like a prize fighter in a mad dash to get to the finish line. Their plan is to punish their body with crushing workout routines; while at the same time making drastic changes to their diet. I call this the “Super Hero” syndrome which inevitably leads to burnout. As we know, this scene is repeated over and over at the beginning of each calendar year, without much success. So you need to make realistic demands of yourself. People that make significant changes in their life, do not do so overnight. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.”
Setting Realistic Goals
When it comes to fitness or weight loss goals, I tell my students that setting unrealistic goals could end up causing more harm than good. Comparing yourself to others is even worse.
Think about the Tortoise. He ran his own race. He was liberated from the beginning, because he really didn’t care what the Hare was doing; rather he focused on getting to the finish line, on his own terms. If we were able to view our weight loss journey like the Tortoise viewed his race with the Hare, more people would ultimately reach their goals.
“In the end when the Hare finally woke from his nap and thought it’s ‘time to get going’, off he went faster than he had ever run before! He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.” When it comes to weight loss and fitness goals, just remember that you set the time lines and the only person you are competing against is you.