Last weekend I was at my youngest son’s football game. When the game was over, we were walking through the parking lot and a car pulled up beside us. A man rolled down the window and asked my son if his team had won. He confirmed that they had, then the man asked him what the score was. My son replied, “I don’t know. Ask one of the running backs.” As we continued on our way I questioned him. I was surprised that he didn’t know the score. He looked at me and in a matter-of-fact sort of way explained “Mom, I don’t keep track of the score. I just do my job.” That gave me something to think about for a while.
My son is a fierce competitor. He rarely comes off the field. He plays both ways…defensive end and left tackle. He loves football and likes to win. Whether the team is up or down in points, he puts the same amount of energy into his on-the-field responsibilities. Winning or losing, he controls what he can and leaves worrying about the score to others. I thought that was a surprisingly mature way of looking at his role on the team and I realized that there are many ways that same philosophy translates into success in pursuit of fitness goals as well.
We all have particular goals that we work toward. We have a certain way we want our physique to look, a race we want to complete, a game we want to win or a PR we want to shatter. One of the ways we undermine ourselves while we’re working toward our goals is to continuously look at where we want to be at the end of our efforts and obsess about how far we have to go. I know countless women who’ve come into the gym to get fit and tight but who psyche themselves out by berating themselves over the speed of their progress. They can’t appreciate progress on the road from point A to point B, they only look at how far they have to go and beat themselves up over the fact that haven’t yet gotten there. They end up throwing their hands up in frustration and quitting when they’re halfway there.
If you have a goal, you must define it. My son wants to win football games. Once that final goal is defined, you need to take the little steps that lead you to that goal. You don’t keep “looking at the scoreboard” every minute. You do the things you can to get closer to the prize. If you’re a fitness athlete, that means sticking to your nutritional plan and exercising when and how you’re supposed to. You don’t worry about things you have no power over (for my son that means what the other players on the field are doing). You simply put your head down, do your job and know that if you give it your best, one way or another, you WILL be successful.