One particular problem has plagued me the better part of my life. Just when I think I’ve got it whipped, it creeps back up and nips me good. I mulled my problem the other morning in the aftermath of a difficult day. I sat savoring my hazelnut creamer coffee, wondering what the heck was wrong with me. The coffee steam was comforting. The momentary peacefulness nurtured a thought: lots of people suffer from the same thing. A compulsion to write overcame me — and here goes.
I’m more attached to my goal, where I’m headed, than the process or journey it takes to get there.
I know that sounds all psycho-Zen-babble. I’m not usually taken to meditative, worldly moments. So this is huge.
I hear it all the time, live in the “now,” or “be present.” Books have been out for eons on the topic, and I’m not just talking the hippie ’70s. I’ve nodded in agreement several times, but I continually struggle to embrace the notion.
My mind is so completely engulfed driving toward my goal, consumed, that there’s hardly anything about the “now” that I appreciate or enjoy.
This problem has applied to school, jobs, project completions, weight loss, dating, travel abroad — pick a topic. I drive for the goal so hard that I almost come unglued when it doesn’t move within my grasp as expected.
So I drive even harder and if THAT doesn’t bring it into reach (as it should, humph), I crank it up higher driving myself to the edge and those around me running for their lives.
Eventually, I either manage to attain the goal or I quit the pursuit calling it insanity to continue. I tend to hit the goal, but often at the expense of some relationships, my own happiness, and a general fogginess surrounding the journey that got me there.
Weight loss (or other health related goals) is no different. I bet a lot of you are falling prey to my difficulty.
You are so hyper-focused on the goal, so driven to see it appear, completely attached to that pair of jeans, that you aren’t paying any attention to what is going on “now” to get you there.
You aren’t enjoying your new friends at the gym, walking buddies, how great the fresh air is on your neighborhood jaunt, the new flavors of the Cooking Light recipe you tried, or that yesterday you did an extra sit-up.
You sleep better, feel more confident, and are building new habits — and not noticing. If you’re like me, you slough it off and say, “Yah, but how long ‘til I hit my goal?”
Heed my warning or you’ll hit your goal, smile a couple of times, and then look up with “now what?”
The Pyrrhic victory will leave you feeling hollow and craving another goal, rather than basking in the glow of all you’ve experienced and enjoyed.
We need the direction goals provide; have them on the horizon. Today, you are here. Enjoy the heck out of it.
And tomorrow, look up to the horizon for a brief moment, make sure you are still headed “that direction,” then enjoy where you are.
Oh, and you have my permission to wag your finger in my face if you catch me doing otherwise. ‘Cause obviously, I need help.
• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.