We all know the obvious reasons for why we should get in better shape or improve our nutrition but determining a WHY that will keep you going when you stumble is paramount to continuing the journey.
Five years ago, my Dad had a heart attack. I didn't find out until months later how serious it actually was and how close I was to losing him, one of my best friends. Ever since then, I've always had this feeling that I will have a heart attack. Not if I will have a heart attack but when? That's a terrible black cloud to hang over your head when you're an overweight guy and especially as a new dad.
Growing up, I was always an athlete. I captained every team I ever played for in every sport, I was popular among popular people in school and I didn't face many challenges attracting members the opposite sex. Fast forward 10 years and to look at me you wouldn't know any of that. I suffered a few injuries playing sports which lead to a slippery slope of poor diet decisions and sedentary lifestyle that caused me to gain a substantial amount of weight over time. I'm sharing this with you because I'm sure there are a lot of dads reading this that likely followed a similar trajectory. Or maybe you feel like you're not quite there but you sense it happening. Maybe you just have put on a few since fatherhood and aren't quite at your 'rock bottom'. Wherever you fall in that spectrum you need a why.
Short term and long term goals are the light at the end of the tunnel. Your 'why' is the fuel that keeps your car going through the tunnel.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." - Jim Rohn
My dad's heart attack rattled me to the core and I still struggle with the thought of potentially having a heart attack one day. When I thought about the possibility of losing my dad it was really tough to think about. Once I had my son, the worry of having a heart attack pales in comparison to the idea of leaving my son without his dad and my wife without her husband.
That is my 'why'. Of course, I want to be a better athlete and feel better in my day to day life, but those are secondary. Being around to see my son grow up and being there for many years as his dad is what will by the gas in my tank to get me to the light at the end of my tunnel.
I encourage you to think deeply about your 'why'. Moreover, once you've figured that out, don't just think it, FEEL it. Your 'why' needs to be strong enough to keep you going when you're faced with setbacks, challenges and adversities along your path.
"We're either getting better or we're getting worse." - David Goggins
You've Figured Out 'Why?' - Now Plan The 'How?'
Short and Long Term Goal Setting
Once you've determined why it's time to plan out how. The best way to do this is with short-term and long-term goals. I've always found if I only set a long-term goal I'm setting myself up for failure. If you say to yourself, "I want to lose 100lbs" and that's it, you will be easily discouraged after a month or two if you've only lost 10lbs, but that's still 10lbs! So make bite sized goals for yourself that chip away at your long-term goal - this will allow you to feel accomplished and build positive momentum without getting discouraged and your 'why' is just coal in the fire! I believe S.M.A.R.T goal setting to be the most effective way to set goals for yourself you can stick to.
If you haven't heard of this acronym, here's what it stands for:
Specific - "I want to lose 10lbs" not "I want to lose weight"
Measurable - Make sure you can easily track your goals i.e. reduce inches, lose weight, increase range of motion 'x' centemetres
Attainable - 10lbs in your first 7 days is likely not likely to happen, if it is it won't be sustainable. 10lbs in your first month however, is much more realistic. A goal that is a challenge but can be accomplished!
Relevant - Your goals, particularly short-term, should align with your long-term or overall goals.
Time Bound - Set reasonable timelines for your goals, both short and long-term. Having a 5-Year plan might be good for finances but not realistic for health and fitness. Consider setting short-term goals in increments of 1, 2 or 3 months and long-term being 6 months to 1 year. Whatever you think will allow you to stay on track and be successful.
Once you've established your 'why' and some goals, it's time to get to fucking work.
Now, Fucking Get After It!
I will be doing another post where I share some of my own short and long-term goals to help keep myself accountable and to help anyone having a tough time thinking of some of their own goals. Getting started is step one, make some progress of any kind toward your goals, even if it's just writing a few of them down. Don't spend too much time thinking about them, you can always add a few more as you go and sometimes your goals will change along the way, and that is OK!
"The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now." - Unknown
Please feel free to share any of your goals in the comments, or send them to me on Instagram, I would be happy to be an accountability buddy for any of my readers. As always, keep kicking ass and being the best fucking dad/father/person you can be.