If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals. ~Lou Holtz
In January I had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. As I was contemplating this event, I was also thinking about some long-term goals, as we are wont to do at the beginning of a new year. Not knowing the outcome of the surgery and hoping for the best, I decided to make my goal 300 hours of working out, 25 hours a month. Instead of setting speed goals or mileage goals, neither of which I could predict, I set a time goal, something completely within my power. I decided to include walking, and I have done a lot of that, and physical therapy, which I did almost exclusively in the first month after surgery.
It’s been an interesting journey thus far. In January, I completed only 10 hours, making getting caught up a priority. February allowed me to add swimming and biking again and my totals jumped up significantly. In March we had terrible weather, rain and cool temps uncharacteristic of Florida, but I went to New York and literally walked hours and hours, saving a month that would have been dismally short on time. April was focused on prepping for a race, and it was the most balanced of the months thus far. May was short on time, as the distractions of finishing the school year put me behind again.
In the first 5 months I have worked out 116 hours. I have ridden 400 miles and swum 23. I have walked 57 miles and spent 16 hours in the weight room picking things up and putting them down. The rest of the time was spent in physical therapy. I am still behind on time, 9 hours, but it is summer, so I am hopeful that I can get back on track. I have several people on this journey with me, checking in with me every month and holding me accountable.
What I love about this goal is that it is an exercise in long-term discipline. Even though I do not race in the summer, I know that I have to show up regularly. It is easy to blow off the gym when there are so many other fun things to do. But I’ve taken to walking after dinner a couple times a week, a practice that was a regular part of my life when my dog was a pup. It’s been a great opportunity to think, to get my head on straight again. This goal has been a constant reminder to keep going, for even a poor hour wandering the neighborhood or a jaunt around on my bike is better than nothing. And I like these lower intensity workouts.
As you think about the rest of the year, I wonder if you’ll consider a long-term goal like this one. I like the idea that there are goals in life that are not pie in the sky, but are rather the result of long-term commitment. This is a promise I have made to myself, one I intend to keep. It is possible that I’ll get further behind and my December will be an endless series of workouts. With all those cookies lying about, that’s probably a good thing. But that’s not my intent.
June, July, and August are great opportunities to get outside and enjoy a round of golf, to take up roller blading, or to join a softball team. Summer is a time of long, well-lit evenings, where there’s nothing but reruns on TV. There’s time to get out there and shoot some hoops, to walk the dog, to throw a frisbee. You can go to the beach and swim or ride your bike around the neighborhood. There’s plenty of yard-work or house-cleaning that will make you break a sweat if you’re so inclined, and if you’re not, you can at least walk to the 7-11 for ice. Drag out that old badminton set. Play some bocce. It’s summer. Have some fun.
Think about what you are doing today and make a goal. It doesn’t have to be crazy hard. It’s about doing the right thing for a long time. Find someone to hold you accountable. Develop a means to track your progress and then get started… Your heart will thank you.