At the end of last year, I set a goal to make it to my CrossFit Box fifty times in 2014 - essentially, once a week. It sounds like a very modest goal, and it is, but it seemed ambitious at the time. You see, since running in the Tough Mudder in May 2012, I hadn't trained very much: my wife and I had a new baby, I had developed plantar fasciitis from poor/over-training for the 'Mudder, and general life-clutter and stress had ushered in a period of unshakable inertia. My gym attendance had fallen to nothing.
By the Fall of 2013, I had put on weight and slowed down considerably. Around Thanksgiving, I had a moment of grim, mortal self-perception: As I was carrying my toddler up the stairs, I realized that I was short of breath. Wow, I thought. I am really, really out of shape. And more, I thought: "this little boy is my most active kid - he needs and is going to need a lot more from me physically than I can give him in this state. I've got to do something about that. I'm not getting younger."
So this goal was different from the outset, because it wasn't for me. I needed to make a change in order to provide something for someone else. The practical goal was modest, but the underlying reason was profound. And I think that this was a crucial difference that aided me in my journey. We hear a lot about how we should "do it for ourselves." That mindset is ultimately limiting. When we account for others in our endeavors, we can unlock so much more of our potential and purpose.
It's little more than halfway through the year, and already, I've essentially reached my goal:
Achieving this goal has had unexpected benefits: since April, I've been using an online tracking tool to record my workouts and body metrics. And I've seen some pretty remarkable results in that short period:
In short, the simple, clear, and unambiguous goal to make it to the gym for my son's sake has snowballed: I've lost weight and changed my body composition; I'm going to the gym more often, striving to improve my workout scores, eating better, and generally improving my quality of life in almost every way. That's huge.
Most importantly, though, now I can haul my (bigger) toddler up and down the stairs, toss him around, flip him upside down, and chase him around, no problem. Back to the way a dad should be.
Start small, be consistent, hold yourself accountable, and do it for a real reason. It makes all the difference.