Making Goals as a Grown-Up: A Reflection on my First Week of Body Back
This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to start an eight week long "Body Back" class, and I began contemplating the strange but important exercise of setting goals as an adult.
I have talked about Stroller Strides before on my blog, and this is a different class through the same amazing company, Fit4Mom. The Body Back classes are similar in that they are a full body work-out, but different in the sense that it kicks my butt a whole lot harder and I'm left without the excuse of an occasionally fussy baby to go comfort.
"Oh Katie, you wanted us to do burpees for another verse of Old MacDonald?...uh.. sorry, I hear the baby crying...I guess I'll go check on him real quick. " (Gets back on the ground in time to do about three--whoops)
I did a free trial class of Body Back, and I knew it was going to be the next step to help me improve my fitness level--basically because the I got tired from just the warm-up part.
Note: I do plan on doing an overall post about the ins and outs of my experience of Body Back once I get a little further into it. If you want more information now here is the link to the Body Back page on Fit4Mom.
The first step of doing an eight-week session of Body Back is goal writing. It had been a long time since I sat down, put a pen to paper, and made some solid goals for myself. What do I want my life to look like in eight weeks? In thinking about fitness goals, I thought about how goal writing can become harder as an adult. Growing up there are academic goals and then job goals and life event goals, and in some ways goal writing is easy. I want to get a 4.0 GPA, or I want to get into this college or land a specific job or promotion. In this season of my life, I'm a mostly stay-at-home mom with two children and sometimes the only goal I have for myself at the end of the day is "please make sure girl-child and boy-child live to see the next day." Life is hard, and there are moments, days, even weeks, where survival is all I can manage. When I can move beyond these super tough times, I believe it is important to use my imagination and begin to think creatively about how I can improve my life by working hard towards accomplishing something that cannot be done in a day.
I spend a lot of time making goals for my children and goals for day-to-day things like meal plans and laundry lists. Sometimes I can get so besieged by everyday details that I miss the reflection and mindfulness that comes from looking at the bigger picture of your life. Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like?
Fitness/Health goals are a good, easy way to start, so I'm thankful that my new class has encouraged me to engage in this way.
An instructor reminded us that good goals should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. With this in mind, I jotted down a few goals for the eight weeks:
After writing these down, I headed out to the assessment class, and while I was there I learned some interesting things about myself.
1. Sometimes you are doing better than you think you are
One of my goals was to hold a one minute plank by the end of the session. During my initial assessment I discovered to my surprise that I already had a 1 minute 5 seconds plank. I realized that writing goals gives you a unique opportunity to look over your life and see where you are with your pursuits. I was actually doing better than I thought I was without being aware. With all of the busyness that come with modern life, these moments of mindfulness can be few and far between. Sometimes stopping and self-evaluating can lead you to the beautiful realization that despite all of the stress and strain--everything is going much better than you thought it was.
2. Sometimes you need to give yourself a break
I wrote down that I wanted to be able to do 10 actual push-ups. At the assessment class, I learned I could not even do ONE real push-up. Seriously. Not one. Now keep in mind I have never been an athlete, so I really did not find this revelation particularly embarrassing (maybe I should?), but when I look back over the last few months and realize I have not read any books--that I am embarrassed about. I can beat myself up about my shortcomings and the little things that have gone by the way side due to night shifts, frequent feedings, sick toddlers, well-baby appointments, and car trouble. OR, I can resolve to work hard and embrace my own excuses--the crazy things that have gotten in my way are all part of this beautifully bright little life I have been blessed with. Embracing the excuses does not mean SETTLING. Embrace the excuses means to accept that there will always be challenges and obstacles and bad days and worse days. All any human can do is resolve to work hard today and strive for a tomorrow that is better than your yesterday. With this in mind, I revised my goal down to five pushups, then moved on with the resolution to work even harder.
3. Sometimes you just need to reach for the stars and not worry about failure
Okay. So I'm not a runner. Not in a "oh I get pretty winded when I run a couple of miles" kind of way--in an "I literally cannot run 1/2 a mile before feeling like my soul is dying a little inside" kind of way. In high school, the gym classes decided they need to do more to promote literacy (why?), so they made the whole class take a vocabulary test for extra credit. If you did well you would get an extra ten points towards your grade. Ten points was the same amount that you would receive for running a mile. Having achieved the extra credit ten points, I politely told my gym teacher that I would not be running the mile. She was less than pleased. Seriously though, I hate running. One of my goals is to be able to run a mile without stopping. I'm not sure I will be able to achieve this goal although I'm sure this sounds incredibly ridiculous to anyone out there who is a good runner or really an athlete of any kind. Nevertheless, embarrassing though it is, this is my reach for the stars goal right now. I just want to conquer something in my thirties that I never have been able to do at any other point in my life. Aging is a tricky thing, and there are so many parts of my body that have decided that they are not quite as functional as they used to be (have you tried to do a cartwheel as an adult?), but this. this. I think I can do. (maybe.)
After making then revising my fitness goals, I decided to use my Body Back self-awareness and set three other goals.
SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely
Three New Non-Fitness Goals:
1. Read ten books by Christmas (at least three nonfiction).
2. Set aside at least ten minutes each day for quiet time and prayer.
3. Learn one new life skill by January.
Can you make three new goals for yourself today?? What are your current fitness goals? Would love to hear from you!