I always do this. Make somewhat unrealistic goals masked as achievable and then get totally self hating when I don’t achieve them, especially when it comes to fitness.
This is probably a very common problem for mothers with young children. Or maybe not, but is for me.
My latest example was the Canberra Times Running Festival 5km event. My mother-in-law who is a a avid runner (she did a half marathon in her mid fifties) has been down visiting from Queensland and bought me an entry into the event a few months ago.
Great I thought! I have time to train! I can exercise every day! I downloaded the 0 to 5km app – easy.
Umm no. Firstly, my kids don’t sleep through, so even with the best intentions super early morning running sessions weren’t going to happen, which meant I didn’t have any kid free time to do runs in (yes I mainly push the pram, but wanted to do it on my own). Secondly, Hand Foot and Mouth struck first the bub and then the toddler, then random virus then gastro so exercise again went out the window, and the rest could probably be put down to some lack of motivation due to grief.
So the day of the event rolled closer and I was unprepared other then a few walks. The self disappointment then loathing set in. I felt like a failure and was so angry at myself. But I was still going to do it, because I’m not a quitter – unfit, unrealistic goal maker yes, but not a quitter.
On the day I pushed the pram and I made a new goal – clearly I wasn’t going to be able to run/jog the whole thing but by all the power invested in me I wasn’t going to stop once. HELL NO!!
So I did it. I jogged/fast paced walk/not so fast walk did it. And I realised something about ‘heartbreak hills’ – every event has a ‘mental one’ – the part where it feels too tough. Yes I know 5k for most doesn’t sound like much but for my tired ass it was. And on the hill I felt like stopping. So I started talking to mum to egg me on and it worked.
Once I (and free loader in the pram) finished I felt f@$&?* amazing!! I felt proud, endorphins had set in, and I resolved to go in more fun runs – even if I ended up walking big chunks of it.
But I knew I had to rethink my strategies and goals if I’m going to get fitter – I quit the gym because I was never going and got a Fitbit instead. Every day since that hasn’t been raining I have been ‘training’ and it is totally helping my mental health. I realise I’m not going to be able to do it everyday, even though I really want to, but I can hopefully do it most days. I think the following on our Pinterest board pretty much sums it up: