Happy New Year!
I sincerely hope your 2012 is the best it can possibly be.
Now, would you please join me in lifting up your hand and saluting your New Years resolutions with a firm and fully extended middle finger?
I know as your local fitness guy and as a full time fitness business owner I’m “supposed to be” using “Resolution Fever” as an opportunity to tell you about my grand insights on how to succeed in accomplishing your resolutions. I personally have attempted to write a post about that three times (annually) and have failed. Why? Resolutions usually fail. We’ve all been there.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I want to help you get healthier and happier and I’m one of the best I know at helping people do that. And setting realistic, specific, achievable goals is crucial to success in fitness.
F*ck the resolutions.
Yep. Dropped the old F-bomb there.
I needed your attention and here’s why.
Without a vision of who and what you want to be in life, creating resolutions (or any goals for that matter) is like packing a suitcase for a trip and not buying a ticket to a destination. Don’t get me wrong: an occasional “destination unknown” roadtrip is fun – if only for the journey itself. And creating short term goals with no vision is better than simply doing nothing at all.
But, in the long term, goals without a vision are a recipe for pain and frustration.
Many years ago I went through a period in which I was pretty miserable. I drank too much, I ate terribly, I didn’t exercise enough, I hated my “career”, and, at least in the dark places that most people (including the majority of my friends and family) never got to see, I hated my life and my place in it.
There were a number of things that converged to get me to that state. We’ll save that story for another time but the point is that in my overly medicated misery I became a world-class champion of resolutions – often weekly. Always annually.
I did it all.
Ate better…for a time.
Drank less…for a time.
Exercised fervently…for a time.
Looked at other career options…for a time.
Got better at being a friend…for a time.
And the list went on. Start, fail, stop, be frustrated, continue to be miserable.
Lather, rinse. Repeat.
Then, in the midst of a fifteen mile marathon training run (another resolution) in August of 2008, it hit me:
I had no vision of who I really was or what I really and truly wanted my life to be.
The last time I had anything resembling a vision was decades ago: I simply wanted to fly to the moon. Yeah I was only ten but the world made perfect sense then. What the hell happened?
I stopped immediately and began to sob uncontrollably.
When its 85 degrees out and you’re running in Central Park with power gels strapped to your waist, everybody assumes you pulled a muscle. Nice cover. I thought it wise to skip the “No, no. My legs are fine. I just hate my life because I’m never going to go to the moon” approach and went with “Yeah, this heat really messes with my hamstrings.”
I got myself together and kept running. Seven miles later on that same run I pulled a tendon while avoiding a tourist on the Brooklyn Bridge.
No marathon that year. But, a fuse ignited that day that had me waking up three months later with my vision.
I HAD TO dedicate my life and all my strengths, gifts, and flaws to something larger than myself. I ultimately arrived at helping as many people as possible experience life more fully through the one thing that had saved me:
Use the power of mindful and joyful physical movement to unlock the gate to true happiness.
Once I had that vision, everything else began to flow in the right direction. Slowly at first (and not without many a face plant); but always toward that vision. It took years of work asking first questions like “What does that mean exactly? “ and “How do you help people that way?” and then questions like “How does one become a personal trainer?,” “What the hell is an LLC,” and “Are you really going to call yourself ‘Captain Quinn,’ ” and more recently “How do you heat a 2000 square foot cement room when its 12 degrees out?”
It was and is the hardest work I’ve ever done…and will continue to do for the rest of my life. That’s the whole point. Everyday since that day in 2009 I have had one vision in the morning and the same vision when I go to bed.
Any goal (or resolution), short term or long term, for myself or my business MUST support that vision. If it doesn’t support my vision, it gets thrown out.
Have I had to constantly adjust my approach and my sense of how to best serve that vision? Of course.
Do I look back on many of my moments en route to my current waypoint and shake my head and laugh at myself? Most definitely.
Do I sometimes still eat badly, drink a bit too much, skip a workout, or fall short of my self-expectations? Do bad things happen to me and difficult times happen in my life? Sure.
Am I the happiest, most fulfilled, and healthiest I’ve been in decades? No question.
My rocket is finally on its way to the moon. Nothing can stop that now. Getting there will require constant course correction and vigilance. Many things will break along the way and I may not ever get there. But, as long as I do everything I can to ensure the moon remains in my front window as often as possible, the rest will follow.
So, take some time this week to step back from your short term resolutions and goals and ask yourself…really ask yourself… this:
”Where do I want to be a year from now…three years from now…five years from now?”
What does your perfect life look like (and by perfect I mean in your heart of hearts, not the one you think you’re supposed to be living.)? How does it feel? Who is part of it?
Once that vision is in your heart and mind, then lay out your plan:
What goals? What steps? What incremental changes…will get you there? See and feel how those goals will illuminate your path. Write them all down. Make them real by giving them dates.
Then light the fuse and watch the magic unfold. I promise you without the slightest shadow of doubt in my mind that when you align your goals to your life’s vision and purpose, the rest will fall into place.