Updated: Apr 19
Life is all about balance. It’s a constant juggle of needs, priorities and wants. This is highlighted in the New Year, in January, when we are all looking towards the New Year with our new goals in hand.
Though we may be good intentioned with our goals, there may come a time when we need to stop and check and see if our goal may be impacting our life in a way that may have unintended negative consequences.
As a personal trainer I often see this happen. For example a client may decide he or she wants to lose weight. This is a very valid goal and one that has the potential to massively improve the quality of someone’s life.
The problem comes when the actions taken towards this goal can have harmful implications. For example, this may lead to someone missing out on all social occasions where there is alcohol served or avoiding going to family, friend or work dinners, where there is a risk of over-eating or where the food served may not be healthy.
Other examples of actions towards meeting this goal which may lead to unintended consequences include missing out on a large number of meals, cutting out carbs and other crash dieting methods, and following a range of fad diets or limiting themselves to green smoothies. In fact, there are a huge number of ways to over-exhaust a goal such as this weight loss one.
Another example, one which is non health and fitness based, may be to save money. This may lead someone to over-exhaust this goal by saying no to all holidays and weekend breaks with friends, avoiding putting on the heating in their homes in the cold months, or eating unappetising canned soups or plain pasta dishes which they simply do not enjoy.
When we over-exhaust a goal by taking actions which may be a little over-reactive and a little too fast, we are likely to see some of our goal met on a short term level. For example the client may lose a few pounds in the first week or the client may save £30 compared to regular expenditure levels.
Unfortunately, as with everything in life, sooner or later a balance is met. This usually shows itself, in these examples, as someone ultimately rebelling against their strict eating habits, and ending up eating or drinking much more and not only putting on the weight back to the original body weight but putting much more on, than the initial weight. In the example of the money saving goal, someone is likely to end up splurging much more and then any saved money will be lost or even spending further into the savings.
Ultimately all goals can be met, but there needs to be a long term plan.
Weight can be lost, though this requires some knowledge around nutrition and also an approach which is not overly restrictive and demotivating. This is the same with the money saving goal, where the goal can be met when a challenging yet sustainable amount is put away each month and where lifestyle restriction are not too limiting.
My advice to my clients as their personal trainer is to think big. There is no need to hold back on what you want to achieve through your goals and objectives, though goals need to be attended to with balance, patience and compassion to yourself when working towards them.
Working slowly yet solidly towards a goal can have results which are much more sustainable and can go the mile. Think long term when taking any action that you plan to keep up. Can you see yourself doing it in the long term? Look deep and envision your new actions and see if your current approach to meeting your goal will take you the distance. Don’t be afraid to work with trial and error. The main point is to avoid any sense of burnout that will throw you off course, before you’ve met your goal. Slower progress is better than no progress at all.
Think big with your goals but get support when you can and enjoy the journey.