Focus on what gets you to your goal
This has a double meaning – it can mean “don’t sweat the small stuff” and it can mean “give your attention to what will actually lead you toward your goal”.
We’ve heard the don’t sweat the small stuff mantra many times. If you are setting out to lose 200 pounds as your goal, it probably isn’t a practical use of your time to worry about:
- Should you run or cycle? Unless that is your SPORT and you need to train for that activity, as a general fitness choice, it really doesn’t make a difference. Go with your preference!
- Do you need to adjust your calorie intake by 14 calories? I doubt it makes enough difference to be worth your time (personally I count calories by 10s – sorry)
- Don’t get discouraged if you lose 3 pounds one week and only 1/2 a pound the next
But the meaning I really want to talk about is “give your attention to what will lead you to your goal”. If your goal is to lose weight, then you need to focus on your food. It might be more fun or less time consuming to focus on hitting the gym 5 days a week. I get it, food is a 24 hour endeavor – but the food is what is going to get you to your goal. You are wasting precious resources (and a limited amount of patience) if you are focusing only on the gym (and not getting the results you want). Great that you cut out bread, but you are still eating desserts? Focus on what will actually get you to your goal.
It’s not easy, or my place, to tell you what you should focus on, because it is not my place to tell you what your goal is – only you can decide that one. And we all have different ones. Heck, as the weeks/months/years go by we have different goals for ourselves!
Is your goal to have a toned body or one that will cycle for 8 hours straight? I am not suggesting they are mutually exclusive, you might be able to have both, BUT if your honest to goodness goal is to ride your bike 8 hours straight then do the things that will help you do that. I don’t think it’s wise to ride your bike for 8 hours without feeding yourself, so strict dieting while training for that ride might be impractical. Lifting weights 4 days a week and riding your bike only once would be impractical too. Focus on what will actually get you to your goal.
If your goal is to have a toned body, training to ride your bike for 8 hours may not be the best path to that goal. If you think about it, how do you expect to have great biceps just by riding your bike? You *might* develop toned legs, but strength and muscle are developed differently than endurance. If you want muscle, you need to do the things that build muscle. Focus on what will actually get you to your goal.
It’s funny, I was just reminded of this example from my life as a business owner – illustrates the same point …
I always hated soap operas – I didn’t watch them even as a teen (and when I grew up we lived in the country miles away from friends to play with, with exactly 3 tv channels, so that says a lot!). But when I got to college I lived with 3 other girls, and if you’ve lived with 3 other people around age 20, you get to realize how much of an influence they are on you – you are with them almost 24/7 (plus 3 against 1, I was out-voted).
Lucky for me, just by chance, I was assigned to live with wonderful girls (now amazing women) who were great influences – except they watched those damned soap operas… and thus my introduction to DAYS OF OUR LIVES. We watched it every day at lunch time, recorded it when we weren’t there, and this habit followed me into my life after college. I had stacks and stacks of VHS tapes (yep too old for DVR to be around yet). Sometimes I had to take a day off work (shhhhhh) just to get all caught up. I shared the annual dissappointment (let’s call it rage!) when I realized the show moved to a different time due to Wimbledon and I missed 2 episodes, or the power went out and my VCR timer had gotten screwed up. All in all I think I missed 10 episodes in a span of 12 or 13 years (but don’t worry, in the later years I was able to get a synopsis from the official DOOL website). (side note – see how easily a HABIT forms?????)
About 7 years ago, we moved to Houston and I left the office job to start my own business as a photographer. I kept up with DOOL for a little while and then I realized that I was spending precious time while the kids were at school that I needed to be spending on my business! I tried cutting down but if you’ve ever watched a soap, it’s hard to know what’s going on if you only watch it once a week. So the decision came to cut it out cold-turkey, and I’ve not watched a single episode in 7 years (I am afraid if I watch one I’ll have to watch 20 more just to figure out what’s going on and how many times Stefano had died!)
PS – if you are putting together a mental timeline, yes I am old
Focus on what will actually get you to your goal.