On goals, and actually setting them

I’m a big fan of the Greatist community, and I’ve really enjoyed following Greatist founder Derek’s 6 week #absperiment in which he attempts to get six-pack abs in six weeks.

What my version of the #absperiment would look like.

Derek has made some seriously honest observations about what it’s taken to stick to an UBER INTENSE regime to reach this goal: turning down social invitations where there might be excessive alcohol; sticking to salad when your friends are noshing on margaritas and enchiladas; making time for daily workouts every day at the expense of having a life; doing WAY too much laundry; and on, and on. The guy hasn’t had a drop of alcohol and basically anything tasty in five weeks now — tune in to Greatist in a week to see the before/after photos! I know I’m excited.

In a slightly-less-insane but equally-admirable way, I read a blog post today titled “50 Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running” in which the author set himself the goal of running once a day, every day, for 50 days. He started at 20 minutes/run for the first week, and then added 10 minutes on to the run per week until he had worked himself up to a 70 minute run.

Both of these guys impress me because for the life of me, I’ve never, ever been able to tell myself, “I’m going to accomplish X in Y days” or “I’m going to do X awesome thing for myself, every day for one month, just to see if I can and reap the benefits.” Inevitably – always – at some point in the process (usually pretty stinkin’ early on), I cave. (There may also be a direct link here to the fact that I’ve never managed to successfully give up chocolate for Lent, like I say I will every damn year.)

So what’s up with that? In this whole “GET FIT BE AWESOME” experiment I’ve been doing, I haven’t set any perceptible goals for myself. I’m a healthy weight, I have a perfectly fine BMI, my arms aren’t so flabby that they’re flapping in the wind every time there’s a slight breeze, and I’ve made a number of conscious health decisions that have steadily begun replacing some, though certainly not all, of my old bad habits (white wheat has become whole wheat; regular yogurt has become Greek yogurt; chocolate bars have become 60-calorie sugar-free pudding snacks; ice cream has become fro-yo; sandwiches have become sandwiches-without-bread).

But maybe it’s worth it to set a goal, if only to see if I can. Maybe I could devise my own bootcamp workout plan and vow to stick with it for four weeks. Or vow to run at least 20 minutes a day for 50 days like that blogger. Or, I don’t know – something. Is it worth it to set such a concrete goal for oneself, or is that taking this too far? Would I finally be able to rope myself into some kind of habit, or would I just drive myself crazy trying to stick to rules I made for myself when nobody else really cares, and nobody’s stopping me from quitting?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but I’m mildly inspired to try. More on this later…

In the mean time, finish your day off at work with The Fifty Cutest Things That Ever Happened. I dare you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s