It’s safe to say there are some universal aspects of “good health,” including a properly functioning digestive system, quality sleep, and a general pain-free and well-functioning body and mind. While these are pretty general terms, most of us can tell when we’re feeling good and when we’re not. Still, your ideal healthy self will look and perform differently than someone else’s, which is why it’s so tough (and often pointless) to look to your favorite fitness celebrity, magazine, or stock “macros” plan to achieve your goals.
This isn’t to say that you should give up on your goals, accept that certain things are “genetic” or “inevitable” or that you can’t improve. But it’s worth taking a good hard look at your goals, at what it takes to achieve them, and to spend time determining what a long-term and sustainable approach to health really looks like.
You may want abs – but it may mean giving up all social eating and drinking. Is it worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.
You may be able to improve your 10k time, but it will mean five more hours of training a week. Do you have time for that? Or would that time be better spent with family, or on other endeavors? Would that much more time negatively affect your sleep, your stress levels, inflammation? Maybe. Maybe not.
Achieving ketosis might make you feel sharper mentally; but it may also mean becoming overly restrictive about your food choices, and even testing your blood glucose multiple times a day. Maybe it’s worth it for the mental edge. Maybe it’s not.
A helpful exercise may be to create two lists: one, an “ideal fitness” and the other, an “ideal lifestyle” and list your perfect-world goals underneath. Ideal fitness may include running a fast 5k, deadlifting two times your body weight, and having a six pack. An ideal life may include more travel, a job you love, a better relationship with food, and more social time with your partner and friends. Once you have these lists, work on putting them in order of importance – it can help bring some clarity between what you thought was important while scrolling through Instagram and what you know to be important when you look inside yourself. Being explicit and honest about what you really, really want in life can help you formulate a plan for achieving those goals.
It can be a tough realization—especially in the increasingly curated, edited world we live in—to accept that our version of healthy may not have us looking like a fitness model or training to be world-class in our favorite sport. But I think very few people, when finding their ideal balance between health, sustainability, performance and fun, are disappointed with the end result.
Have questions about setting goals and the steps needed to reach them? Send me an email and we’ll chat!