What is the goal to your career story? How “did” you get there, if you’re predicting your 10 to 40 year plan? When we start our careers, any opportunity will do, no matter if it’s night shift or underpaid. I don’t think it’s that we become less flexible. It’s that we’ve seen the bad gigs and know that investing our time and effort into “this job” will actually pull us backwards away from our career story’s goal.
I’ve been in the same 5-pound weight range since January. I was on this same plateau years back at a stressful job. While fear-based goals like “I’m in terrible shape, I should change that” are effective, those goals fade when the fear subsides. Success-based goals, like “increasing fitness functionality,” also subside after vague accomplishment. I need a new goal. Something more concrete… maybe: “I want to become the best version of myself that I can.”
The introductory conflict of “The Story” is how two social outcasts, John (left) and Trishna (right), want to develop their relationship yet can’t due to geographic distance. It’s not spoiling this conflict to say they do meet, since this conflict is the narrative introduction deemed “The Scene,” and it’s a convenient inference. If their natural inclination then is spending all of their time together, after spending years physically apart, would they even have separate hobbies?
Stop defending yourself! Quit justifying your existence, your actions, or your life’s intentions to every person you observe. We’ve got it all twisted. Sure, it’s important to explain ourselves to our family and close friends. They’re invested in our future and our failures could drag them down financially or emotionally. Everyone else, though? Who cares! Why invest your energy in the stranger that might scoff at you? All that does is lead to feeling insecure!
One nicety of regular fitness is that you can easily monitor your health, like a videogame health bar, so you can adjust your routines if you notice any dips. If I don’t feel like doing a rowing or yoga set, then I know something’s up. Tracking my stats, in addition to social accountability, helps me quickly identify problem areas that could be blocking progress toward building up my physical and mental tolerances toward handling stress.
Fitness isn’t universal. What works for me might not work for you. Within 6 months, I should return to my former apex of rowing hour-long sets, which is not something most people would enjoy. Instead of being frustrated over not being able to do that, focus on what you can do with what you have, for your intended results. I see rowing as a tool that can help me do what I want: more universal tasks.
I would go well past the point of social inebriation because I couldn’t handle the pain of reality. I needed panacea. The serene bliss of numbness outweighed any risk. I was also in a self-destructive mindset stating ‘not much is my fault,’ especially when I couldn’t address the stress and pain in my life, because I was the innocent victim, after all… The pain is still here. It’s just now I can actually fix it!
Fitness is difficult for me when I have no functional goals. Health goals work for me when I actively notice looming threats like continual poor health, cardiovascular issues, or diabetic trends. Once those clear up, I lose the motivation. If the goal is something more tangible however, like being able to increase my body’s functionality in order to get more done throughout the day, then I’m all over it! Tools, then, mean nothing without use.
Accomplishing any goal requires internal motivation and external motivation. My internal motivation to burn 60 pounds in 6 months nearly 10 years ago was my desperation to get out of terrible health. My external motivation was a convenient gym membership. Similar desperation rekindled that internal motivation last year. Unfortunately, internal motivation disappears without external motivation. That was initially just this weekly column, then daily social media accountability, now, a natural addition to my home gym. (…And eventual set?)
Compared to last year, a yard work activity took me half the time and drained my energy perhaps half as much, because I still did a 10-minute rowing set. I’m not as far along on my fitness journey as I would prefer, however, I’ve made significant progress toward getting there! Fast progress leads to failure. There’s no sustaining it. Long-term trends typically work because there’s less effort trying to maintain your status quo of success.