Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[Girl♥Health]: Digging Deep to Find a Goal

Did you know that Nicole over at nicoleisbetter.com just released an e-book all about running and motivation?  Did you know you can get it super easily by clicking this link and signing up?  Did you do it yet?  No?


Here's the gist of what it's about from Nicole's blog: Stop Making Excuses & Start Running is a 41-page bullshit-free guide to redefining motivation that will give you the mental tools you need to get from the couch to the finish line of your dream race. Part e-book, part workbook, and part swift-kick-in-the-ass, this powerhouse of actionable steps will help you build a life-long relationship with running.

You guys, you all know that I've been trying to get healthy for the past year or so, right?  I mean, that's what Girl♥Health is all about.  I'm changing eating habits, trying to incorporate exercise into my daily schedule, thinking and rethinking about goals I want to make and accomplish, and planning for how all of that can actually happen when my motivation is low and my resistance is high.  So I was so excited when one of my favorite bloggers announced that this little gem of a book -- which is totally applicable to all my health-related (and some non-health related) goals -- was coming out.  I read it in one sitting and am slowly making my way through the prompts.

One thing that this e-book has already helped me to do in the few days that I've had is to really examine what I want.  I've been saying for the past however long that I wanted to be a runner.  Why?  Because I wanted to be healthy.  And that was my problem right there.  The vagueness of this goal.  Saying I want to "be healthy" is like saying I want to "be happy."  It's like, no shit, of course I want to be healthy.  Who goes around thinking they want to be unhealthy?  So, because my goal wasn't actually a real, measurable, achievable goal, I wasn't really committed to it or the process I needed to go through to accomplish it.

This also pointed out to me the glaring fact that I didn't really want to be a runner either.  If I did, if running itself is what got me going, then I wouldn't need the excuse of something else in order to do it.  I would just want it bad enough that being a runner was my goal in and of itself.  Sure, running still has it's appeal to me: I think runners are fit and lithe and I would like to be that.  I also see running as a great stress reliever (when the thought of running itself isn't causing me stress) and a time to quiet my mind and let things sort of...go.  But those reasons aren't enough for me, I guess.

Realizing all of this was, in a strange way, both a relief and slightly devastating.  A relief because I can now stop beating myself up over not being "a runner" because it's not what I really want.  But it's devastating because, if running isn't what I really want, than what the hell is my goal?!

This was going to require me to dig deep.  What did I love to do?  What health-related images kept coming to mind when I thought about my Dream Life?  Where were my self-conscious hang-ups?  What did I fear doing the most?  When I imagined being a fit badass, what activities did I do?  What did health mean to me?

The answer slightly embarrasses me.  It's embarrassing because it touches on one of my deepest shames: my weight.  Being a person who loves the outdoors, I seem to surround myself with other outdoorsy people as well.  The upside of this is obvious: camping and day trips.  The downside of this is where it gets a little bit humiliating.  Nearly all of my friends love to hike.  And when they ask me to go along, the thought that runs through my brain is: Dear God, please let it be a flat hike or I won't be able to do it.  I've been that girl who everyone has had to stop for on a hike because I need to catch my breath.  I've been that girl who has had to ask to not take a certain trail because it's just too steep.  I've been that girl who has had to turn around before reaching the top.

And can I just say: it's makes a person's self-esteem feel about as low as humanly possible.

This is what I want to change.  This is my goal.  I want to feel confident enough to go on long-distance hikes.  I want to go backpacking and not be so scared out of my mind that my weight will hold me back that I chicken out.  I want to go to the top of Half Dome.  I want to see places that you can't get to by car.  I want to hike parts of the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails.  This will be a physical challenge, a conquering of a fear, and a stare down with my insecurities.  It's specific (finish a long-distance hike) while still being broad enough to encompass meeting small, less specific goals (like losing weight, lowering cholesterol, strengthening my core, having a healthy back, eating less crap, running, weight lifting, etc.) -- after all, I'll need to "be healthy" in order to see this through, right?

While I haven't fleshed out the details yet, I know there are tons of things I need to work on in order to accomplish this. For now though, I'm sort of just sitting with it all for a minute, just to see how it feels and if it still fits when the rush of naming it has faded a little.

[Photo source: http://nicoleisbetter.com/]

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