Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I am not morning person.

I'm just not.  And I can't apologize for it.  So why do I feel like I should?

I finally talked to someone yesterday who works out at night!  She's a night owl like myself and prefers to hit the gym about 8:30 at night.  She works out for about an hour, then goes home to shower and hit the hay.  This sounds good to me, but also hard to stick with.


Take this week for example.  My mom is here visiting, arrived yesterday and stays until Thursday.  So if I head to the gym at 8:30 at night, my husband is stuck entertaining her, not to mention that she's here to visit so shouldn't I be visiting?  Then I think, well, fitness and health is important, not selfish.  Yet, I would still feel incredibly guilty heading out at that time and leaving the household and guests behind.

But don't be fooled into thinking I got up to workout this morning instead.  I did not.  Or yesterday.  Or tomorrow.

Because I am just not a morning person.

If I can get up and spend some time waking up, say an hour, and then head off to the gym, I'm fine.  But to roll out of bed and hit it is just not me.  Don't get me wrong, I have had some great runs first thing in the morning, and I think I still will again someday, but as a regular thing it doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.

So when does changing one's goal become failure and when is it just a shift?  And why does setting and achieving goals have to be so important?  I read a book recently entitled Focus by Leo Babauta (thanks, Alan, for the recommendation).  Among several awesome insights in this book, the author talks about abandoning goals in favor of living in the present.  He says, "We're always thinking about the future (goals) instead of the present.  I prefer to live in the present."  He goes on to say, "Goals are a way of saying, 'When I've accomplished this goal (or all these goals), I will be happy then.  I am not happy now, because I haven't achieved my goals.' This is never said aloud, but it's what goals really mean.  The problem is, when we achieve the goals, we don't achieve happiness.  We set new goals, strive for something new."

I have always subscribed to the theory that goals make life worthwhile and without goals we sit and twiddle our thumbs all day.  I don't know if I can completely buy off on Mr. Babauta's theory of abanding goals completely, but I do see how focusing too much on goals and where you want to be can take away some of the joy of living in the present.  Doesn't the saying go, 'it's about the journey not the destination' or something like that?  Anyway, this blog came about so that I could focus on the journey of reaching my weight and running goals.  And while I am learning a lot on this journey, I have gotten caught up in thinking that once I achieve my goals, only then will I have succeeded (be happy).  Working out when I can doesn't seem like enough because my goal is to work out faithfully on certain days, for a certain amount of time, at a certain time of day.  If I don't get up in the morning and workout (reach my goal), it throws a wrench in my whole day, and I feel like I've failed AGAIN.

I need to stop this because it's really self destructive and negative.  It doesn't go along at all with my 2011 goal (there's that word again) #3:

3. Become more satisfied with myself and my efforts.

I specifically set forth very unspecific "goals" for 2011, yet I have spent a lot of time this January laying out specific plans for myself with regard to running and working out.  I've had a hard time reaching the goals and it hasn't felt good.  It feels like I've failed.

So I'm going to try and let go of the specifics (again) and go with the flow, and live a bit more like Leo Babauta suggests by not forcing things and doing what comes naturally; focus on what I'm doing, not what I haven't done or what I "need" to do.

What about you, do you focus too much on goals (future)?  If you change goals or abandon them, do you feel like you've failed?  Do you think goals are important?


  1. Sometimes I get too goal focused and forget to listen to what my body needs (rest days). Or I feel guilty taking a rest day.

  2. I am a night owl as well! i NEVER work out in the mornings...just can't. As far as the goals I am and always will be a goals girl. but I dont' let them consume my life, and I take time to celebrate reaching a goal to avoid the situation he was talking about where you acieve a goal and set another immediately, not allowing time to enjoy your accomplishments.

  3. I’ve never really had “goals” per se. I’ve always tried to “lose weight” and become more fit and stronger, but I never actually had hard goals. I think that’s partially why I’ve failed up until now. I never had an end goal. With that said, I now am committed to actually making it all the way this time. I’ve set a nebulous goal of making it to 150 lbs, but without the mini-milestone goals that everyone else seems to set. I don’t have a date I’m trying to reach either, but I expect I’ll make it by mid 2012. I don’t do well with set goals, and I don’t know how that motivates other people to try harder and do better. I’m actually more committed to actions every day, and in the immediate now, so I can totally relate to that book. I’ll have to check it out!! My immediate goal is to continue trying to reduce my portion sizes and to make sure I never go to the gym less than 5 days a week. When I do go, I work hard. I leave it at that. Right now I’m just setting up the routines and trying to make them habits.

    Oh, and I also only work out in the evenings. I am less of a morning person than you are. I never bother going to the gym until I’ve come home first, played with my kitties, and gotten dressed for the gym (often involving waiting time for my boyfriend to get ready). I do try to go and be back by 9-9:30 so I have time to eat dinner. Yes, it’s a struggle. I’d recommend that you set expectations for any family/guests – let them know that this is incredibly important to you and that you have to be gone 1 ½ - 2 hours every evening for gym/working out time. If they know that, they’ll deal with it and work around your schedule. The rest of your family will have to buck up too (if that means entertaining, then that’s their job). Best of luck! P.S. Love your blog!

  4. A year ago, I had a goal. I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. I was unhappy, and I knew doing so would help.

    I lost weight (just shy of what I wanted to lose)....and I got healthy (not Olympic caliber, but still healthy).

    In the back of my head, I'd always like to improve myself....lose more...etc. But, if I don't, I don't. I'm happy where I am for now. Maybe that will change, maybe it won't....but for now, in the present, I'm happy.

    Wanting to improve is good. Liking where you are is good.

    Changing your goals is fine. They are goals...not absolute HAVE to's.

  5. I'm obviously a little behind on my blog reading and catching up. Thanks for the shout out. I'm glad you liked the book!