Last week, when I wrote about my safety issues and how they’ve been affecting my ability to be active and social, I felt proud of myself. It was difficult to admit what I’ve been struggling with, but it felt as though I’d relieved myself of a major weight off my shoulders.
Puns are never intended. I promise.
It was relieving, but it was also important. Identifying and acknowledging the problem, as well as accepting that the problem exists is a key element to being able to solve the problem. I cannot address what I refuse to see. I learned that the hard way when I first began to address my emotional eating. Taking this path has proven to be successful for me, so I’m going to keep at it.
In deciding that I wanted to move forward with becoming a personal trainer, I also decided that I wanted to have a far more toned, fit, pillar-of-perfectionesque body. Basically, what I was working towards before I moved. I’d definitely call the issues with the harassment a derail – that’s a gross simplification, but still – but luckily, I didn’t gain weight. I wasn’t emotionally eating, and my caloric intake was stable, so I didn’t gain. My body definitely changed with the lack of weight lifting and pole dancing (my apartment is FAR too small for a long-legged lady like myself, not to mention the ceilings are far too high for me to put up my pole), but I’m okay with that. It’s what happens when you neglect your commitment. You begin to lose the muscle you worked hard for in the first place.
It’s frustrating, and it sucks, but it happens.
I’m approaching this all as a brand-spankin’ new start. It’s essentially where I was back in 2009, when I realized that I was an emotional eater. I had a problem that was holding me back, I needed to address it and find ways to get around it while I plotted out how I intended to defeat it, and I have real progress I want to make both mentally and physically. I know this path, I’ve traveled it before, and after learning that I can succeed this way, I’m convinced that I can do it again. I don’t know how much of it I will blog, but I think keeping a record of this is best for me.
My first start is to set my goals firmly in place, and I’m going to do that with a goal tree… at least, that’s what I’ve been calling it.
It looks a lot like a family tree, starting with my overall final goal at the top. Take my sample, for example:
At the top, you might see something that says “become the fit Oprah.” Not sayin’ that Oprah ain’t fit, but that Oprah’s empire isn’t fitness-centered. I’m not tryin’ to shade the almighty Queen. Pardon me while I bow.
But the next question, after that, should be how do I do that? That’s what those first bubbles attached to the sides are – two ways that I’ve identified that can help me achieve those goals. (And, no, that doesn’t say “put a hit out on Gayle.” Stop squinting your eyes.)
There are multiple ways to approach my goal – and all of them need to be addressed – but the one I’m focusing on, in the middle, says “tighten up, toots!” which is the one branch of my goal tree that was negatively affected by my newly-developed hermitness. Now that I’m fully tackling it head on, I had to figure out my plan of action.
Instead of settling in on losing weight, I’m focusing more on burning fat. That way, I’m not out here losing muscle and thinking it’s okay because I’m still “losing weight.” Therefore, I’m working on modifying my body fat percentage. By focusing on the amount of fat my body carries in comparison to the amount of actual important and legitimate stuff there is, I can cheer on my muscle development as well as my fat loss and be pleased. I plan to do these by staying on top of my food intake – which, c’mon, I’m an all-star at this, baby – while staying on top of my yoga for stress relief, hitting the weights as well as training for my first big race.
Because I have two goals that could potentially run counter to one another – getting back to my pre-injury running ability and building muscle – I have to keep my running light, but still effective for training. I’m not trying to kill myself out on someone’s track.
The basic gist of this, is that you keep on branching out your goal tree until you have spelled out, for yourself, in basic bare bones how to accomplish every goal on your list. In other words, it helps you plan. If you want to lose 5% of your body’s weight in fat, then you’ve given yourself five ways of checking your barometer for success. Did you stay on top of your yoga practice and relieve stress? Did you hit the gym as often as you wrote down? Did you stay on top of your clean eating? Are you lifting like you said you would? If not, and you aren’t progressing towards your goal, then you’ve got an immediate response as to why that’s happening.
Though I have plans to blog about internal dialoguing tomorrow, I do want to say that there is a mental aspect of this that’s required to make it work – it means that your goals have to be front and center in your mind non-stop. Every step you take has to be a step that will help you accomplish your goals.
Yes, even at work. How can you manage stress if you’re out here messing up at work and borderline getting fired?
I don’t think this method is for everyone, though, because some people benefit more from having those deadlines by which to reach x amount of pounds lost, but I find that that doesn’t work too well for those of us who are trying to commit (or, as it were, recommit) to a new lifestyle. That being said, I’ve got to ask: how do you set up your goals, and how do you keep track of your progress?