Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tales from the Front - Its 2017, so now what?

"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do".

Henry Ford

2017. Its here. For many 2016 was not as great as hoped; it left them with more questions than answers; while others found more clarity and purpose, more direction. And there were several who are in the middle, still wondering what they want to do or how to go about attacking their passions. Here's the thing - doesn't matter where you fall in the spectrum. A new year is an opportunity to create lasting changes in your life. The tools are within you, the key is discovering how to pull them out.

Its easy, particularly in the Midwest, to get lost, or derailed during the holidays, then, the holiday post mortem; overindulging on food and alcohol, the stress of family, Christmas shopping, travel, cooking, it adds up. And by the time you realize it, its mid-February and you are no closer to getting started on your "resolutions" than you were on January 1. So let's start with something simple - do not make resolutions. They don't work. They can be too esoteric, or so overly complicated that nothing gets done. That leaves people feeling worse, depressed they weren't able to step up, or more confused as to why things aren't working. And as great as goal setting is, it still needs more meat. I like the idea of goal setting; however, if you want to reach them, being a bit more strategic helps set small markers along the way to keep you motivated. Let me explain.

We all have what I term, "macro goals". Things like, "I want to be healthier", "I want a better job", "I want to spend more time with my family", all goals, but pretty broad. Instead of ditching those global goals, use them as the constant challenge, make them the reason for the journey and the victories along the way. So get a pen and paper, yes, millennials, a REAL pen and REAL paper, and write down the big goal. It makes it real; its something that you can keep with you at all times. Don't just state it out loud or in your head, shit gets lost that way.

From that big goal, break it down - what does "be healthier" mean to you? And I mean you; not your friends, family, coaches, etc. You. This is your goal. Yes, we are used to the definition that CrossFit provides for fitness and health, but that might not be specific enough for you. You have to put your stamp on it. Don't borrow from someone else, its just another way to give up on your dreams and have a built in excuse as to why. Screw that. Own this. Decide what it takes to reach the ultimate goal, and write those steps or smaller goals down. Create a road map. Don't know how to? Ask. The notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness is beyond idiotic. No one knows everything - sorry millennials. Creating your road map gives you a concrete plan to get you where you want to be. I don't know what it takes for you to get a promotion or a better position in your respective field. You may not know. If it matter enough, you will seek out the answers.

Notice what I wrote - if it matters enough. Goals are great, road maps are great, all of this is wonderful, but absolutely meaningless if it doesn't matter to you. This is part one of the tough talk - what really matters to you. Again, this isn't about what others think or do, its about what matters to you. Its very easy to get caught up in goal setting talk, positive vibes are floating around, positive talk, high fives, etc. But when it comes time to act, very few move. Why? Because bottom line, it just wasn't important enough. Goals are the dreams that speak to you, they are what motivate you, feed you, scare you, keep you up at night. So before you start creating your map, be damn sure the holy grail you seek is something you actually want to hold. With this comes another critical point, if its not important enough to you, then complaining that you aren't as good as someone else or aren't where others are is yours to own too. If you want to get 5 unbroken pull ups, then you know that you will most likely have to stay after class, or come in before class to put in some work. However, if you are the first out the door when class is over, well, those pull ups aren't going to magically happen. Its like trying to be "half way pregnant", you want something, but maybe not as bad as you thought, so you still want to bitch that its not happening. Umm, no. Goals by definition have to be an all or nothing deal. Last I checked, they don't give out half promotions. I guess you could be "kinda healthy" although I have no idea what that means. Be specific, own it. This is supposed to be important to you. No one gets a trophy for simply showing up in life. And taking your dreams to the grave cheats all of us, because you had much to give the world, not just to yourself.

With that, comes the second part of the tough talk. These are your goals, your dreams. That means you can't go into the process of chasing them thinking that others will support or be there for you.  Your family, your friends, they may not understand or agree with your dreams. You must be prepared to go alone down this road. No safety net. I know its scary. I'm 43 and have been playing without a net for a long time. I don't live a conventional life. My family doesn't support my racing, never have. Same with training and coaching. Its a completely foreign concept. Eating healthy, being active, not typical in the Petruzzelli family. But I know this. So I go about my days not expecting anything. These are my dreams, my goals, my passions. I cannot ask or expect anyone else to be on board. If someone or someones are, then its a wonderful gift. Otherwise, I know what I need to do. My coaches have my back, just like all the coaches at Iron Flag have yours, and each others. We may all have different views of fitness, but we all agree that you, the members, come first. That we are there to help you achieve your goals, to follow your passions. If that's all the support you get, that's ok. You are your best cheerleader. You are your best anchor. Taking the first step may mean grabbing your own hand to get up. That's more courageous than you realize.

No built in excuses. If you get home and know that there is junk food in the house, don't blame the house for it. You knew it was going to be there. You have to change. How you handle those situations will let you know how much your dreams mean to you, and if you're lucky, then those closest to you will see it and help. But until that happens, if you know Sunday dinner means pasta and starchy carbs, don't get mad at Mom because its not how you eat anymore. Plan ahead.

I'm not going to promise you anything here. I'm not here to tell you its easy. Life isn't easy. There will be times along your journey that you will fail, you will backslide. Don't beat yourself up about that. We are human, this is going to happen. Know your triggers, and learn from the mistakes. Know that all of this is worth it. Don't let others dictate your dreams, that's the fastest road to resentment and regret. Instead, get up, shake it off, and attack again. Faster.

Stay strong,