Why The Most Common Goal Being Set Is A Cause For Failure

 
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It’s time to get specific, very specific. One of the most common things I hear as a fitness professional is “I want to get toned and fit.” That’s a good goal, at least the desire for improvements is there, but that’s also one of the most generic and un-motivating goals anyone can set for themselves. Honestly, it’s a ‘goal’ that sets most for failure. Here’s why:

Reason #1 - The desire lacks a specific goal for individuals to work towards.

Here’s the reality, in the world of health and fitness, there’s no real limit to how healthy or fit a person can get. The longer I work on my health and fitness, the more results, the more benefits, and the more gains I reap. Health and fitness is a spectrum versus a singular achievable destination. I know exactly how long my flight from Singapore to Bali was, but with health and fitness, there’s no real measurement to the distance because there’s always room to do better and there’s always room to improve. I can continue to improve my flexibility, improve my strength, increase my endurance, increase my muscle mass, reduce my fat percentage, etc. because the capacity for improvements is endless.

Reason #2 - The desire is undefinable.

Everyone has a different preference and definition to what “toned and fit” is because it lacks universal identification. Toned and fit is a description, not an identification. Body type preference also comes into play here, what I find toned and fit may be too much or too little for some people’s expectations. For example, some people may want larger bulkier muscles, while others want leaner muscles, or others want bigger butts while others prefer to focus on their abs. There’s a multitude of desires when it comes to what each person wants, so if I can’t even define what I want, how can I expect to achieve it?

Reason #3 - Everyone’s body is different.

Everyone has a different idea of what the ideal body is but the reality is, each person is born with different body types, with different genetics, with different metabolisms, and therefore with different capacities. Before identifying what is my ideal body type, there must be an understanding of the reality of each individual’s body. Each body is beautiful in their own way, but genetics and physiology is something we’re born with, therefore the limitations of this reality are also inherent.

SOLUTIONS:

Solution #1 - Identify the desires and intentions.

Everyone has different desires as to what the ideal body is. Identifying what this means within the context of one’s own body and what this means for each person is key to the success of each individual’s health and fitness journey. This is Why Identifying What Drives You Is Important. There also first need to a be a clear understanding of the why. Why do I want to embark on this health and fitness journey? Understanding our desires and motivations is an important first step because Intention Matters. What I am driven by is different to the person next to me, so I should expect that how I motivate myself is different too. Identifying these critical components will help to identify the goal.

Solution #2 - Come up with specific goals.

Once I understand the why, I am then able to identify specific desires and motivations to help me identify specific goals. “I want to be able to do 10 push-ups because I want a stronger upper body,” “I want to be able to do a 20kg (approx. 44 lbs) deadlift because I want more shape to my butt,” “I want to be able to jog from my house to the gardens without stopping because I want to work on my endurance,” the possibilities are endless, but the main thing to remember here is to come up with one or a few specific goals to keep you motivated and start with the why! Of course, once you’ve achieved the goal, cross it out and set a new one!

Solution #3 - Accept that each body is different.

Accepting and working with what I have to achieve my healthiest and fittest self is the first step to a successful wellness journey, here’s A Beginner’s Guide To Working Out, which explains several criteria to get right in order to aid a successful fitness journey. These criteria listed are what I believe are key components to a successful health and fitness journey. The main point to draw on is on accepting and celebrating the body we have been blessed with and to work on optimizing its potential.

Everyone has the capacity to improve their health and fitness, but there are too many fad diets and fad workouts out there which mislead people’s expectation of themselves. Especially with the rampant existence of media nowadays, there’s a race towards perfection and unrealistic aesthetic reaches.

The shift that’s needed in the health and fitness world is an acceptance towards all different body types. Not everyone is tall and lanky, but that is the projected ideal for females in this world. Not everyone is big boned and chiseled, but that is the projected ideal for males in this world. What’s more important is to keep moving forward towards a healthier and fitter self, because what’s more liberating is the freedom to love one’s only body and to treat it like the holy temple it really is. Meaning to do whatever it takes to help this body I have to achieve its best potential.

Each body is unique, each body is different, each body has its own capacities and therefore its own potential so why not work towards its personal best, rather than drowning my mind and my body with unrealistic and unachievable expectations of what society and media have deemed as worthy?

 

You've Got This!

 

You’re too fat.

You’re too chubby.

You’re too skinny.

You’re too muscular.

You’re too dark.

You’re too…..

Trust me, I’ve heard it all! Let’s be real, we live in the modern world (with plenty of ads, social media, and enough Netflix originals to last a lifetime) that constantly reminds us just how important looks are. YES no matter how idealistic I try to think sometimes (i.e. that we're not all that shallow), the truth is, to some level, everyone cares about looks. Some more and some less than others, but bottom line is how we look is a topic in everyone’s minds.

I am speaking quite generally here, but coming from an Asian culture, it’s hard to avoid the role looks plays, especially in regards to the topic on weight. There’s so much emphasis from when I was a young girl about not getting fat, or be too skinny, to dress a certain way, to be a certain way. I mean seriously the list goes on and on. I think there are similar expectations across all cultures, but speaking from my own experience, weight is typically a hot topic, especially if I haven't seen someone in a while. (Well weight and my relationship status, but that’s a topic for another time!)

The message I want to share is, accept and love yourself for who you are the way you are. It took me  awhile to get to where I am today, but trust me the harder you work to love yourself the more rewarding life becomes.

I used to be unhappy with my body. I can’t recall a time through my adolescent years or my youth where I was happy with how I looked. I always found fault with everything. In my pre-teen years, I was the chubby one, but even when I lost the weight in high school I would find fault in my face, my thighs, my arms or something else. It never stopped. In part, because of comments from others, but a lot of it had to do with the state of my mind.

All the comments shot at me used to shake me up. I used to think oh no, I’m too fat, I need to get going and lose weight ASAP! Then when I lost weight, people would tell me I was too skinny. (Seriously! What do you want from me?!) I used to take it all to heart. It impacted my self-esteem a great deal. If you ask my childhood friends, they will remember how insanely insecure I was growing up. Until one day I finally realized something, who are they to tell me about how I should look?

My body is mine. My life is mine. What’s important is to love myself for who I am and to celebrate the body I am in! I finally told myself, “YOU’VE GOT THIS!” So why does it need to matter to anyone else? What becomes apparent is how important it is to feel alive in my own skin. To accept all of myself in the most genuine way. There’s nothing wrong with how I look, unless I allow such polluting thoughts corrupt my state of mind.