I think the #1 issue that comes up with my clients is the frustration of not being able to meet their goals. They want to lose weight and train for a triathlon, and I applaud all of those dreams. The thing is, almost anything that you want to do is achievable, but sometimes we're not quite realistic when it comes to the timeline we've set for ourselves.
I had one client who wanted to train for a triathlon. She had a son around a year old, a preschooler, and a tween stepson. She had decided that it was time to refocus on her own needs, and the triathlon was something that sounded like fun. When we started working together, she was looking to start running and swimming again, and I put together a plan for her that would allow her to start training for this goal and also to resolve some pubic pain that she was struggling with. This client did awesome. She was dedicated to her workouts and was showing great progress, especially in her weight goals and pubic pain reduction. Then she asked about shifting focus to the triathlon – could she train for it if she only had 30 minutes per day to workout? I was floored.
If you know anything about these races, you know that the competition takes multiple hours. Even the shorter Spring Triathlons are usually 2-3 hours in length. When you're training for an athletic event like this, you must be able to train for that time in able to have the endurance to finish. Can you run a triathlon training only 30 mins on each event? Sure, it's possible. But it's going to hurt and there's a good chance that you won't do too well.
So this brings us back to the importance of aligning your goals with your current reality. My client and I and She Moves use the AACT framework when working through our programs.
AACT stands for:
Change & Conditioning
Traction & Train
We start with the first two – Assess and Align.
Once we've decided on a goal, we really need to dive deep and understand the steps it will take to get there. In the case of an athletic event, what equipment, skills, and time commitment are required. Then, we must assess our current reality. Do we have the ability to meet the requirements of this goal at this time? Can we dedicate the time to train? Do we have our web of support filled out to allow us to spend focused time working towards this goal? Do you have all the equipment needed and if not, can we purchase it?
Sometimes everything falls into alignment and we can start making big steps towards our long term goals. But more likely we realize that what is needed to be able to train for the event just isn't going to work right now. And this is where we shift to looking at how we can align our goals with our current reality.
In the case of my client, we talked about two options. The first option was for her to be able to free up at least 2-3 days a week where she could train over an hour per day. This meant finding someone to watch her kids, which was a big hurdle for her. The other option was to shift the goal to something more doable, but that was still in line with the big goal. In this case, I suggested that she consider training for a 5K, which can be done with only 30 minutes per day, and then continue to mix in swimming and biking training to keep progressing on the skills needed to complete a triathlon. For her, the triathlon was the goal she wanted to do no, and so she made arrangements with her husband and a friend so that she could have kid-free time to train that would allow her to engage in dedicated triathlon. She completed that triathlon and was glowing at her accomplishment.
For me, I've had similar hurdles to overcome. When my son was born, I was a competitive rower. In the ten years since his birth, I haven't been able to return consistently to the sport. It kills me because I am driven by competition and training for a sport is something that has always been a part of my life. For me, I shifted to find another outlet for my competitive spirit – first in competitive weightlifting, and also in taekwondo. I still have the dream to return to rowing, but it will have to wait until my life is in better alignment to meet the requirements of that sport. For now, my two new sports give me a lot of flexibility, which meets my knees and core values and bring me joy.
Right now we're in a place where many of us are picking over our lives with a fine-tooth comb. Many of us are re-evaluating our core values, what we want out of our lives, and if our identities match how we're moving through life right now. This is a great time to put the Assess and Align skills into action and decide what goals you're going after next – either during our quarantine time or once we're allowed to have a bit more freedom again.
The take-away here is to remember that when you're feeling that your goal is unachievable, don't let yourself get discouraged.
Instead, adjust your goal so it's a bit more in alignment with what you can do now. The part of the AACT framework that makes it different is that it is a continuous process. Even after we get to the Traction and Training piece, we always return to Assess because we are always changing. Remember that our wellness cairn is constantly shifting and adjusting, which me we can always reassess to see if we're finally in a position to go after that big goal.
This process is easier to grasp when you write it out. Download our Goal Planner to help you identify your big goals, any obstacles in your way, and developing your AACTion plan!
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