Two months ago, I wrote about why I was setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year. The way I’d set these goals was somewhat professional. I’d divided my year into quarters and was setting goals for each three month window so they were easier to review. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Anyway, to demonstrate a point about personal progress allow me to indulge myself by sharing a tale of my 2018 experience.
One of my goals for Q1 of 2018 (Jan – March) *sorry* was to reduce my body fat to 18%. Some context. The first time I ever had my BF% measured by a Dr was in June 2017. At that time it was recorded as 20.2% which would put me in the “healthy” category, with sub 18% generally considered “athletic” in women. As I upped my exercise and reduced my less-than-healthy drinking habits in the second half of the year, this was measured again in November. At that time I was measured at 18.5%. Woohoo. This definitely felt like an achievement but despite being able to see that I’d slimmed down, I had a way to go before seeing the visible muscle tone I was after. For the first 3months of this year, I made a plan to cut the next 0.5%. The plan was: eat a predominantly plant based (or vegan) diet AND exercise a minimum of 6x a week. Those 6 sessions would be made up of: 2x Barre Classes, 2x Gym/cardio workouts, 1x Yoga class and 1x additional class of my choice. Ooh the spontaneity!
On the 22nd February, with over a month left to reach my goal I decided to sneak in a body fat measurement. The nurse I’d befriended agreed to check it for me with her professional electronic pulse thing. Having stuck to my plan I was expecting to see progress, but still be slightly off target. I sat in her chair, looking casual as I waited for her to reveal what the number was… It was 17.4%, a 1% reduction over the 4months (including the Christmas period – just saying). I hadn’t just hit my goal early, I’d doubled it.
My reaction is best represented by the above image. I was pretty pleased, but also relieved. The numbers showed that my plan was working and my body was changing. Whilst it was hard sometimes to really see the progress, the physical numbers were hard evidence. This was the encouragement I was hoping for to maintain the routine I’d begun. When I told my closest few that I’d hit this goal, everyone had the following reaction: “Well done! Now you can relax a bit.” Hmm.
There were a few things about this response which jarred with me. Firstly, the perception that when you achieve something you’re working towards, whether it be a fitness goal, a promotion or even an investment, you can level out. From everything I’ve seen, the most successful people are those who don’t look to slow up or ‘relax’ into a stateOnce you reach a dream, the dream can get bigger, the ladder gets taller. Whilst this could sound rather exhausting, it is actually a positive thing. The world is infinite, as are your possibilities.
“If you don’t move forward-you begin to move backward” – Mikael Gorbachev
There’s another part to this which is easy to observe in relation to physical goals. That is, by telling me to “relax” my confidants are making the presumption that I want to. That I’m not enjoying the lifestyle changes I’ve made and am desperate for reprieve. However, what I’ve found is that, once you adjust your lifestyle, it becomes a part of you. I don’t question exercising every morning. I just do it. AND I enjoy it. I’ve become so accustomed to the early nights and early mornings I revel in them. The endorphins released from exercise are very real as it turns out.
Whatever your goals may be, when you reach them I encourage you to celebrate in an awareness of your ability and to ask: what next?! Beyonce could have stopped at Destiny’s Child.
Lexy is a writer, DJ and marketing professional living in London. She is a gemini and a feminist who loves coffee and leather trousers.