Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Eat, Move, Love: Priorities

Heather, Thea and I hosted a small group discussion at Fitbloggin’ Denver this year called Eat, Move, Love: Finding Yourself without Losing Your Mind. The session went really well. And although we didn’t necessarily get to discuss all outlined bullet points behind the topic we still had an hour long session filled with great ideas, comments and feedback. I really enjoyed it and you can read a recap of it here.

But because this topic is so meaningful to me I wanted to pull the themes we based it around into a recurring blog post. Today’s theme will be:  setting your priorities honestly and realistically.

I should start off by saying that although the session was led by myself, Thea and Heather the opinions shared regarding topics I discuss here are my own. Not saying that Thea and Heather disagree, just saying that I am the only one contributing here.

Honest and Realistic Priorities

What does that even mean?

Well, to me that means that the priorities I am setting for myself are what I actually want to achieve and can be achieved within my constraints. My priorities are reflective of the life I want to lead. 

Let’s look at this from a goal-setting perspective for examples….

I kind of think of it this way- although something may be a realistic and achievable goal it might not be something I would actually want to do. Case and point (I feel like I have used these examples before- sorry for the repetition) – doing an unassisted pull-up. Is this a realistic goal for me (in terms of fitness) I would say yes. I think with enough time and training I could do an unassisted pull up. BUT if I am being honest with myself I would know that spending all my fitness time and training focused on achieving this goal would really not be fun for me. I like variety. So setting this as a fitness goal would not honestly be something I would want. On the flip side- qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Running a marathon is honestly one of my goals (once I have the time to dedicate to the training miles hopefully fall 2016) but realistically I will never be a fast enough runner to qualify for Boston. I just won’t. I am physically not designed to be an efficient runner. And I am ok with that. I like how I run, I like being able to meet and achieve personal goals. But I am also not naive enough to think I could ever BQ. To me, that would not be a realistic goal.
So, given these two examples you see how I have differentiated between realistic and honest. Here is what this translates to in my life.

My priority this week is to make every meal from scratch using only organic, local foods (from my garden preferably) – no processed foods, stick to the meal plan.

Is this a good priority for me to set? NO! Because it is both unrealistic (I have neither time nor the means to accomplish this) and not really honest either (I enjoy a break from eating in every meal, I like to dine out or grab a beer once in a while).

Instead my priority would be: meal plan and make weekday meals at home. Limit processed food. Follow 80/20 for eating out.  Drink only on the weekend. In this case this as a priority that would work for me because I do have the time and means to prepare my meals during the week, even when limiting processed foods, and I can honestly stick to it knowing that I have the built in flexibility for a meal or drink out a couple times during the weekend.

My priority this month is to lose ten pounds

Is this a good priority for me to set? NO! I mean, for my size, I think 10 pounds in a month is unrealistic. Even at the early stages of my weight loss journey I wasn’t losing 10 pounds in a month so it would be silly of me to think I could do so now, at least not in a healthy manner. Also, if I am being honest with myself, do I want to set a number goal? Not really. I am trying to move past that ‘controlled by the scale’ mentality. Setting my priorities around a number goal would be counter effective.

Instead my priority would be: spend the next month finding joy in movement. Eat well for my body and to support an active lifestyle. Do what brings me (honest) happiness.  If this was my priority (which it actually is) then I could create goals and build ideas to help support it. Meaning, set a goal to do yoga at least twice a week, incorporate more raw meals- maybe breakfasts and lunches during the week, schedule time for self-care and activities I truly enjoy doing. I would still schedule and plan, because I think routine works for me, but my priority is better aligned with what I want and what I have the ability to do.

The two things I mentioned are my current life priorities when it comes to health, wellness and fitness. I have other priorities too which revolve around school, work and social stuff. I think it is important to take time to make sure the priorities you set for yourself are realistic and honest, otherwise you won’t be able to maintain them.

What are your priorities? Do you ever fall into the habit of setting priorities that are neither realistic nor honest? How do you combat this?

Love and hugs,