I want to vs. I need to vs. I have to. I often find myself saying I have to or need to go exercise as if it’s such a chore. I remember reading an article at some point in my life somewhere on the web that said we should change our word usage when it comes to exercise (and let’s be honest- life in general). One of the main points was that it shouldn’t be that we HAVE to go exercise but that we want to or we get to. It’s all about our mindset.
In my last post I talked about the new goals in my life now that my hips don’t seem to want to fall apart with every step. I’ve set goals for squatting and deadlifting a specific amount of weight and for completing my third half-marathon in 1:45:00 or less. For now my main goal is the half-marathon which means there are certain things I have to and need to do. A coworker called me out on it the other day when I said I have to run. Have to? Ok I get to run, I want to run. Suddenly I felt a little more positive and excited about it and then I remembered why I am doing it.
I remember the feeling when I crossed the finish line 2 years ago with a time of 1:42:45 (20 minutes faster than the year before might I add) and I will tell you that it was better than any athletic achievement I’ve ever had. There was something about setting a goal for time and beating it that was so satisfactory for me and I craved it last year when the time came around again but seeing how I was a mere 3.5 months post surgery, it clearly wasn’t happening for me especially considering I was doing “intervals” of 1 minute jog and 2 minute walk. Yeah…
So here I am one year later working towards something that I NEED to do, something that I HAVE to do because it’s something that I WANT to do. So yes, you can say all 3 when it comes to exercise or anything else in life but it has to end with you wanting to do it. Before I ran 9 miles this past Sunday I told myself I wanted to do it because quite frankly I did. I ran it at an 8:35 pace which was exhilarating and I got the taste of victory and motivation that I had 2 years ago and all of a sudden, I was addicted again and find myself now saying that I want to run and I get to run and oddly enough, my runs have been better.
Today I set a goal to run my 3 mile steady state at an 8:20 pace which was 14 seconds faster per mile than last week. Did I have to do that? Not necessarily. I could have run it 7 seconds faster, but if I want to accomplish my goal, then yes I had to but more importantly I wanted to because I wanted to prove to myself I could. And I did. And thanks to TimeHop I was reminded of my pace 2 years ago when I was training for this race which was exactly the pace I was going today. 10.1 more miles and 20 seconds faster per mile and I am golden. Seems like a lot but coming back from this hip surgery has made me more determined than ever.
When it comes down to goals, I believe every part of your being should desire to reach it and you should have a plan. I cannot stress this enough. Prior to setting this goal 6 weeks ago, I was drinking 3-4 nights a week, my nutrition was pretty terrible and I was getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night (and when you go to bed after 3 martinis, you don’t really sleep). The first week on my program I decided to cut back my drinking to 2 nights a week which were my weekly girls nights. Given that I amped up my training in a short period of time, these two nights crushed me for the rest of the week and weekend. My workouts were shit, my runs were shit and I was falling asleep training my clients which isn’t exactly ideal.
I decided to cut out drinking, to food shop and meal prep every week and to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep a night. I created, with the help of a few knowledgable co-workers) a nutrition plan to support my workouts, a girls night plan (drinking soda water), a sleep plan (going to bed at a certain hour every night), strength training plan and most importantly, a running plan. At the beginning of every week I look at my plan for the week and I figure out what time each day I can get my workout in so when I go to bed every night and wake up every morning I know exactly what I have to do that day to reach my goal. I wake up and set my mind to the task that day. I knew I wanted to hit an 8:20 pace today and I did and that fuels me to stay on point and follow the plan even more. With each passing day I become more focused and more driven to reach this goal to the point where I visualize myself crossing that finish line in under 1:45:00. I think about this all day. I see it happening. And I do this because practice makes perfect. Physical and mental practice.
So next time you go to the gym, make it a positive experience. Turn it into something you WANT to do because you have a goal, not just something you have to do to undue the damage you did the night before from drinking or over eating. Tell yourself that you get to go and you want to go. Set a long term goal but create daily habit goals that you can accomplish every day. It’s those that keep you motivated for that long term achievement that seems so far away. And plus, when you put a positive spin on it, you’ll find you might be a little more excited to get to the gym. 🙂
Because you and I both know that neither of us will stick to shit without a plan.