It’s Okay To Get Help Achieving Goals

July 10, 2014 § 2 Comments

Flickr credit: Jinx! Creative Commons License

Flickr credit: Jinx!
Creative Commons License

So I’ve started a new venture. Well, actually going to the gym is not unknown to me. I had a membership once before without success.

This time, however, I’ve taken on a personal trainer to help me realize my goals – the first of which is to not suck air by doing minimal physical activity and the second is to make fitness part of a daily routine.

My first attempt at getting in better shape occurred in 1998. After I started my communications business, I really embraced the change in my career by taking on a few personal development pursuits, including going to the gym and enrolling in Toastmasters.

I made a valiant with both in the beginning, but as I got busy building the business, I began rationalizing why I couldn’t go. Eventually I dropped both because I had felt the need to be going all the time as part of my new lifestyle.

It didn’t occur to me that doing something less frequently but still regularly was better than doing nothing at all. The required commitment just wasn’t there for either.

Fast forward to 2014

I decided to buy a bike in May. My last one died in 1997 as I pedaled to work at the Ontario Lottery Corporation one morning. I hadn’t cycled since.

Despite initial excitement about even cycling to and from work, I have only gone for one spin.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted via LinkedIn by Taylor Jarvis, a personal trainer who works at Winston’s Health and Fitness Centre. She’d heard through a mutual acquaintance that I might be looking for someone to coach me at the gym.

I thought there would be no harm in going to speak with her and doing an initial orientation.

The first time out was frustrating. I wasn’t able to get through what I felt were easy exercises on some of the equipment without help and I bailed out of lunges.

It also felt awkward to have someone coaching me on something I felt should be up to me to take care of – my own fitness.

In the workplace and out in the community, I am a mentor to numerous people. I wasn’t sure about this turnabout. I am very independent, competitive and take pride in everything I do. I rarely seek help on anything unless I have a problem with technology.

Taylor checked in that first evening to see how I was feeling and to make sure that I’d enjoyed working out. She told me had done well even though I was disappointed.

That encouragement helped make sure there was a next time.

By my second visit to the gym, I was feeling sore. I knew that was in part because I hadn’t worked some of my muscles hard in years. In between, diabetes had taken its toll on my body, too.

After that workout, Taylor asked me how I felt. I told her the dilemma was that I could quit and the soreness would go away or I could get stronger and it would also go away.

She said I could think of it as a good hurt.

Today, the role reversal came full circle.

After going through my first exercise, Taylor asked me how I felt. I replied, “Okay.” She countered with: “You mean, not awesome or great?”

That’s exactly how I might speak to someone who provided a less than enthusiastic reply. I wondered if Taylor had read one of my first blogs which was about banning iffy word and phrases like hope, try, may, might, if and would like to. She hadn’t. I usually cringe when others use the word okay as is equivalent to mediocre to me.

Inspiration to Continue

It was after this third workout that I decided I’d continue going to the gym regularly and that I would carry on with Taylor to coach me to higher levels of fitness. I realize that, in time, I can be more self-directed and work out on my own some of the time or at home.

I just know this time, I want to maintain fitness as something I just do and not let things get in the way. The one bit of exercise I did get in recent years was Jasper’s need for daily walks. As his health waned up until his death in February, we’d been taking shorter, less invigorating jaunts.

This spring, Joyce and I began walking up to 10 km per day which, combined with workouts, will put me in much better condition.

This fitness venture has reminded me that it’s okay to get help setting goals, reaching them, establishing new ones and measuring success. While I was skeptical that a personal trainer would be the solution, it helped to click with someone whose encouragement has already kept me going.

Reinforcement From Others

I tweeted out about my fitness pursuit today and received a lot of encouragement. I will share some of the responses:
Glenna Cross, a communications consultant in Calgary said: “Keep going David. Just pace yourself. Listen to your body’s messages about limits.”

Another communications colleague, Dan Huang, who lives in Edmonton, said, “keep going to the gym, sitting on our butts is shortening our life span daily…just going to the gym is half the battle.”

Friend Samantha Evans in New Jersey who also described the soreness from workouts as a “good hurt” told me how much she cherishes her gym time.

“It’s worth it, trust me. Think of it this way: You are bettering yourself. Push yourself, just not to the point of harming yourself.”
With the help of Taylor and encouragement from friends and colleagues, I’m sure to succeed this time.

One thing is for sure, I am not a woulda, coulda, shoulda type person.


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