Setting Wellness Goals

Why Wellness Goals?

You start to get a lot more serious about wellness as you get older. Take that as a given. I sometimes wonder what my state of wellness would be if I had started earlier in life. The problem with that less than useful reflection is that the wisdom needed to understand why one should pay attention only comes with the years. Better late than never though. The increasingly towering spectre of your own mortality focuses the mind too. Setting wellness goals is important.

I’ve had pretty much every medical test possible in the last couple of years. It’s a debate as to whether I’m being a responsible adult or whether I’m one of the so-called worried well. In general I’m in good shape. I’m at the low end of mild cardiovascular plaque, which I’ll take given the family history.

It’s now apparent that exercise is a crucial part of the wellness jigsaw. Whether it being to give vitality, or whether it be to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer. And in my case to help keep at bay my mild but nonetheless apparent arterial plaque. Rather than randomly charging around and sweating while exercising, I like to structure things. A vague notion of exercising won’t get results for me. The only result of that approach will be me thinking about going to the gym and then watching sport from the sofa instead.

In addition my doctor said “lose three kilograms”. Can’t win with those guys, I had great numbers and then he lets the air out of my balloon with his punchline.

Exercise Goals

I have set my exercise goals for 2020. Yes, I know it’s only August 2019. What I want to achieve will take some patient preparation. The last year was lost a little. I became very busy with a business related transaction and the result was my exercise lost out. I do know that fitness takes a long time to build and a short time to lose.

By spring of 2019 I was very unfit and couldn’t get rolling again. Any excuse to do nothing. No wellness goals meant very sporadic activity. Couldn’t fit into my suits without a deep breath. I did start to do a little work at the gym and then restarted working with my coach, the excellent Roman Caban, at Gymbox in Farringdon.

I got the taste and started to train two to three times a week. The gym is seductive to me. I can be in and out in an hour, it’s around the corner from the office and the pace during a session can be up or down. But I do notice that I needed the attention of coach to start to make progress.

I have to have some cardiovascular work though, or my weight starts to shoot up. I kept putting off riding my bike. Because that’s where the long hours come in. You can’t throw on a shorts, shirt and trainers and go. There’s whole palaver of getting the bike ready, getting the kit ready, getting the clothes ready. Many excuses, many false blockers.

Get A Coach

So as with the gym, I spoke to my 2017/18 cycling coach Joe Beer. Serious times call for serious people. Not only do I listen carefully to both my coaches, I enter into an unspoken agreement with them. If they write a plan, I’m going to follow it, I’m not going to let them down. The training gets done. Give me a goal, I’ll get after it.

True it’s harder to get as much done this year, work is busier than ever. But with an appointment sent to my diary by Roman, the gym gets done. And with a cycling plan in my training software set by Joe, so does the cycling. I’ve started to string together a few consistent weeks of training. It feels like progress.

Embrace The Drudgery

When I was struggling to get motivated, even the shortest bike ride was drudgery. My bad weather training revolves around an indoor trainer and the Zwift software presented to me on an iPad. The digital dust settled on Zwift. Even the shortest session had me counting every minute.

Now fitness is appearing, I’ve started to embrace the drudgery. This weekend has seem gale force winds. So I did two hours indoor yesterday. Ninety more minutes this morning. Exactly as prescribed by Coach Joe. What’s more, I enjoyed it. All indoors and without getting whipped around the road.

Anything worth having needs some drudge work. It’s part of the price. If it was easy, it wouldn’t feel like an achievement.

What Are The Wellness Goals?

I had better put them on paper right now. If only one person reads the goals, I will feel obliged to deliver. Setting wellness goals increases the chance of achieving them.

Goal number one is to complete the 101 miles and 8,600 feet of climbing on the way to finishing Gran Fondo New York. It’s on May 17 2020, five days before my 63rd birthday.

I failed to finish last time. Six months of training down the pan. I had a disruptive incident 48 hours before the event and then on the day a series of small negative events. At the halfway mark I called it a day. The disappointment sat with me for months.

I’m not setting a target time. My goal is to finish the event. Alright, under seven hours would be preferable.

In July I aim to ride from London to Paris in three days with some of my work colleagues. This is more unfinished business. I was due to ride this in 2018 and then my niece announced she was to get married on the same weekend.

Disappointment in missing the event, but the wedding was memorable. Not least it because my family were together for the first time in 15 years. And we were speaking, it was longer than 15 years since we all spoken. Long story, like many family dynamics.

Finally I have the Prudential Ride 100 in London on 16 August. After many years of trying to snag an entry, I finally got one this year. Then wasn’t ready to ride it, due to general sloth on my part. Attempting a century with no real training is an exercise in futility and also unfair to the organisers, who would have to drag me home. But I was able to roll over the entry, so I have a future date.

Watch This Space

I don’t really have any excuses now. I’ve completed the setting of wellness goals. If I fail with these goals it’s because I haven’t done the training. If I haven’t done the training, I’ve either turned into a less determined individual than I’m used to being, or a life event has overtaken me. Plus I’ve put it out here on my blog, so if even one person reads it, then I have to deliver.

Travel could drag on it. I like to travel internationally for vacation and there’s quite a lot of business travel in my diary too. But I always check if the hotel has a gym and as you can tell from my previous blog post, there’s a neat solution to cycling coming soon. As an update to my general wellness, see here my blog post on kicking alcohol completely.

I’m off and running for 2020. I’d rather be an idiot with a plan than a genius with good intentions. If it’s planned and measurable, the probability of achieving the wellness goals goes up exponentially. Watch this space.

Also published on Medium.

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