When Fitness Goals don’t go as Planned
I was hesitant to write this post because I have written some posts about how to achieve your goals and get rid of your excuses so I didn’t want this post to be taken the wrong way. I think that if we set a goal, we should try our best to achieve them and it is very possible to achieve them, most of the time. I am writing this because I know that sometimes we have the best intentions and things beyond our reach get in the way. Life happens, and that it is okay, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up because this actually gives us backwards motion on our goals. I wrote this to talk about what to do when our goals don’t go as planned so that we can get up, “dust ourselves off”, and keep going and still feel proud about what has been accomplished.
Sometimes goals don’t go as planned. Either because we have let things slip ourselves or because of outside circumstances making the goals difficult or impossible to complete for a little while or even a long time sometimes. I set the goal of running a marathon with my sister. I knew this was going to be a difficult goal because I had set a short timeline to complete this goal and if anyone has completed a marathon before, they know that a marathon is no small feat. I have run a couple of marathons before so I knew what to expect in a marathon. I was on track with my marathon training plan, and it was actually going pretty well. My long runs were on track and I was getting excited. I knew that I could not miss a week or I would be way behind, probably too far behind to catch up comfortably. A few weeks ago, I went on vacation with my family. I knew that getting a long run in was going to be difficult because we were up early every day and busy all day long most days. I had decided ahead of time that I would be able to get right back on track after my vacation. I had not planned for what came after my vacation though. My baby got a nasty cold the last couple days of our vacation that continued after we got home and ended up turning into an ear infection. I was able to run during this time, but it did affect the amount I was able to go as I was attending to him while my husband was working. When my baby was getting better from his sickness, I developed a health problem that prevented me from running for a week and I ended up having to go to the doctor to get it taken care of. When I got this taken care of, my baby had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic that he was on for his ear infection. It started out with spots all over his body and got progressively worse and worse to where he was super itchy and had hives all over his entire body including on his scalp. This has lasted the last five days and has been way worse than any sickness he has had yet. I haven’t been able to run at all during this allergic reaction because he has hardly let me put him down for even a couple of minutes. He has been very miserable and it has been so sad. So now, it has been over three weeks of me off track from my training plan and I have had to reevaluate whether or not running a full marathon is still a good and reasonable idea for my body and life at this moment. I have decided that I need to run the half marathon instead because I have to be realistic with myself and the place that I am at. My body is still not back to normal after having my baby either and this is most manifest in my running (another reason I had to go to the doctor, so I can get this figured out) so this is another factor that has played in my decision to reevaluate my goal.
I don’t tell you all these things to say that it is okay to make excuses and not complete our goals that we have set for ourselves. I tell you these things to tell you that life happens sometimes. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and instead of getting upset with ourselves or feeling bad for not physically or mentally being ready for our goals, we need to do what is right for our bodies. Don’t worry about what other people think, you know your body best, you know your schedule best, you know your situation best and you know what you can handle. Having a goal that is too difficult makes it so that we don’t complete that goal, but also makes it so that we are hesitant to try certain goals in the future. I have thought of some tips for when life happens and we need to reevaluate our fitness goals.
Why did you set the goal in the first place? Think of what you really want to achieve. Why are you doing what you are doing? Are you just wanting to get in shape? Try something new? Find a new hobby? What is your end goal? I wanted to run a marathon to get back into running shape and to run a race again since it has been a while since I have done that. I also wanted to support my sister in her first marathon.
Why are you needing a reevaluation of your original goal? Maybe you realized that your goal is causing you more stress than good. Maybe your goal is taking more time than you thought it would and you don’t have that time to spare in your schedule. Maybe circumstances in your life out of your control have made it impossible to continue on with the goal that you had originally set. Whatever the reason(s) may be, make sure you identify why your goal isn’t a possibility at this time so that you can keep these things in mind as you are setting a new goal that will be achievable to you.
Think of these two questions and set a new goal or a modified goal. For example, I wanted to run a race and get back into running shape but fell off track from my training schedule when life got in the way and my post baby body wasn’t quite up to the task yet so I am going to run a half marathon on the same day. Make sure that you feel happy and good with your new goal. I feel very happy with this new goal, I actually feel better about it because I know that I will be able to complete this goal and a half marathon is still a great, long race. You should feel good about a goal that is still going to push you but that you know that you can do. A goal that is too hard will make you feel stressed or not good about it because you will have this feeling deep down that you won’t be able to do it or you don’t want to do it.
Own your new goal. Now that you have a goal that you feel good about, own it! Get excited again and really work for it. This is a goal that you know you can complete with your current life circumstances.
The purpose of goals is to make us better, not to make us feel bad about ourselves if we fall a little short. If we do fall a little short, instead of quitting, figure out why you are falling short and get back up and keep going. Goals should make us feel proud of ourselves for what we can accomplish. I hope that you can see that you aren’t a failure if you get part way through a goal and realize that for one reason or another it is just not doable for you at the moment. I also hope that this gives you ideas on how to take that goal and make it right for you right now so that you can feel successful and happy in your fitness ventures.