Reaching a goal is never easy. It’s a lot easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk. How many people have you heard say, “I’m going to quit eating junk food,” or “I’m not going to spend money on stuff I don’t need?” How many of those people actually end up doing it? The answer is not many of them.
There are probably many reasons why it doesn’t work out for them, but usually it comes down to one reason, they just weren’t ready to make that change. That’s completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but you have to admit that to yourself first. We as humans are not prepared to handle drastic life changes perfectly. Smokers usually don’t quit on their first try and spenders do not stop spending after they are in debt, it’s very difficult to break a habit. The key is to slowly change your ways and to work your way into becoming the person you want to become. Realizing that you aren’t going to drastically alter your lifestyle in a span of 24 hours, and setting your goals with that idea in mind, is not weak, but instead logical and the right path to take.
It’s all about working at a pace that fits you. When you focus on too much on one goal, it affects your progress and drive towards other goals. At the beginning of 2014, I had three goals: get back into the gym and become an athlete again, sleep at least 8 hours, and stop ordering food online so much.
As soon as January 2nd came around, I had already messed all of them up. The first day, I told myself I’m going to wake up at 6, go to the gym, and be in bed by 10 so that I could get my 8 hours. The reason I failed so miserably come day two? None of my goals were realistic. I hadn’t worked out in a year and a half (about 500 days, crazy when it’s put like that, huh?) because of football injuries and hadn’t slept 8 hours a night consistently since I was in 4th grade (aka 12 years ago), how the hell was I going to manage to do two monumental tasks in just 24 hours?
The first day back, I went so hard on my chest that I couldn’t even move the next day. My body was so broken down and sore that I couldn’t sleep and so hungry that I couldn’t resist the temptation of ordering food. Talk about an absolute serious fail. I gave up, then and there, and let work consume me again, letting my unhealthy habits continue.
I’m usually a very strong-willed person, but there has to be a goal to reach for me to get to that level of strength. Football had always motivated me to work out. A beach body had never been a priority and I had never worked out for that. My only goal with my workouts was to become a better player, and now that my motivation was gone, so was my will. It wasn’t until March when I tore my knee that I decided my goal was to be able to become healthy enough so that I wasn’t having a serious injury every year that hindered me from living from my life to the fullest.
My new goal was long term and I needed something I could focus on, but not destroy myself over. I chose soccer to be my new goal because it is something I have always loved and followed, but just never thought it would be a realistic goal. Soccer was something I always grew up playing, but couldn’t take seriously because of American football, and it was a new challenge for me. It involved a sport, eating well, and recovering quickly, therefore touching all of my goals, and not brutally beating myself up like I had to in football. I want to be healthy and teach my kids how to play sports one day, so my goal was to maintain myself and teach myself moderation, something I had never learned in the past.
Focus on Health
I started by going to the gym 4 days a week. After a few stumbles with ordering food late night the first week, it didn’t hit me until the second Monday that I was already seeing results and that eating crappy food was only hindering me. The consistent work in the gym helped me sleep better and I was resting more than ever. I was sore, but not to the point where I was so tired that I was making bad decisions. Instead of ordering food, I’d drink water, eat a banana, and watch videos of my favorite player, Cristiano Ronaldo, on YouTube. Slowly, but surely, I was on track to reach my goals and I had felt better than ever. It took the feeling of knowing I could do it to keep motivated and working. Once you gain the confidence, you will keep trying to exceed your expectations.
I’m sure you are wondering, “What does this have to do with saving money?” The answer is simple, set realistic goals that you can reach over a certain amount of time. You aren’t going to go from spending $500 dollars a week to only spending $100 because you will be very unhappy during the process, which will keep you from reaching your goals. Work at a pace that is best for you and the results will come. People who reach their goals know how to incorporate their goals into their daily routines. After all, life is all about balance.