Goal setting for our goal body

Goal Setting for Our Goal Body

'The trouble with not having a goal, is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.' (Bill Copeland).

I recently came across this quotation and it got me thinking. How often have we wanted something, attempted to go after it and not quite made it? What percentage of those times had we actually set clear short term goals in our minds, planning how we were going to get there? More often than not, the 'burning desire' to achieve something was most likely a vague want that we would have been moderately pleased to reach. 

Goals are what drive us. They keep us focussed on an ultimate aim and bring meaning and purpose into our lives. Without them, we are merely bobbing along, doing odd jobs, not working towards anything in particular. Of course this relates to all aspects of life, but I wanted to discuss it in terms of health and fitness. 

For some people, being fit, toned, healthy etc is a goal in itself and they are more than happy to keep this in their head and work towards it, both in the gym and in the kitchen. They are what is called 'intrinsically focussed' - working towards something for themselves, internally. Unfortunately for the majority of us, internal rewards aren't strong enough and we need something more tangible to drive us. 

This past week I have eaten extremely cleanly, consuming balanced meals of 350-400 calories every 3-4 hours. After a few previous weeks of messy eating, I am feeling a lot better and happier in myself and my body. But how long is this going to last? I know I am prone to binging and undulating between periods of clean and unclean eating. Why will it be any different this time? I started to think about this in more detail and honestly I don't think it will be any different. I will get bored of such structured, balanced meals after another week or so and head straight for the sugary cereal, chocolate bars, biscuits etc. This will last 4-7 days and then I will promise to eat well again until I get bored of it. The cycle continues. 2 steps forwards, 3 steps back. 

The problem is, I have little intrinsic focus and need something external to give me motivation. A reason to eat cleanly and work hard in the gym for an extended period of time. Something like a beach body for a holiday, a party to look good for or a new dress to fit into. Unfortunately I don't have any of these coming up and summer seems just that little bit too far away. I am currently struggling to think of something to keep me going and as much as I wish, simply being confident in my body isn't a strong enough desire to keep me working hard long term. I also enjoy eating big portions a little too much.

What I am trying to get at, is that a lot of us can't cope with long term, internal goals. As superficial as it sounds, giving up is all too easy and without something in the near future to aim for, the thought of working hard long term is just too difficult. 

If this is sounding all too familiar, don't start fretting yet. Just because we don't have strong enough long term motivation to keep going, doesn't mean we can't eventually get to where we want to be. The key is to work one step at a time focussing on the short term battles.

I am currently trying to be positive and think of an event in the next month to work towards because I do want to be fit, healthy and happy in my body - I'm just not strong enough to effectively set my sights that far away. I urge you to do the same. Pick a day in the near future where you want to feel amazing in your body and be the envy of everyone in the room. Work for that day and once it's over, set another. Don't keep running up and down the field and never scoring.