DO WE REALLY NEED GOALS?

Everyone wants to achieve something in life. For most people, the journey begins by setting a specific, challenging, achievable goal.

Some time ago I set my goal to finish half marathon run. Exactly how the goal supposed to be my goal was to be challenging, measurable, motivating, realistic and exciting. I did not forget to visualize the achievement of the goal, I saw myself crossing the finish line and felt the right excitement, joy, and satisfaction from completing the race.

 I chose the proper training process to achieve a reasonable 2 hours for me to run the half marathon. I found and studied information about what I need to complete the run, I divided my training into weekly sections, running, fitness and strength training sessions as well as days and ways to relax and unwind. So I went on a training trip to a half marathon race. I’ve enjoyed whole training time and then the day D came and I was standing at the start of the race. The whole race, 21 kilometers was amazing. I ran relaxed and enjoyed every meter of the track. And then.  After crossing the finish line and tearing the finish tape was … the end. Goal accomplished. The feeling of pride and satisfaction but very soon outweighed feelings like – What next? I realized that the great process to reach my dream was over and I had to find and set another, different goal. I had to revise my dreams again and choose another one.

 That was probably the most challenging part of the process. I realized that the goal itself was not really the most important thing. It actually served as a beacon to which I’ve been heading. I changed the word goal to the word destination. As a place to arrive and then I can go on. I realized that the path that leads to the destination is the most important and entertaining part of the process. It is the strategy that keeps conscious control of each step. Do you think that when you focus instead of goal rather on strategy, on the quality of your training, do you reach the goal? I think so. To me, it sounds like the goal says: „you’re not good enough. Once you’ll reach me you’ll be good and happy“. Kind distressing, isn’t it?

 Still, I don’t mean to say that the goals are useless. We know where we are going, where we want to arrive. By my experience as a coach and human, I‘m sure much more effective is to focus on the system. The process and every single step we bravely take towards the goal. And of course, because the present moment can change things during the process, our direction and goal may change. We can find that our preferences and expectations have changed on the way. For example, from the half marathon, the entire marathon is the goal. But the path we are going through continues every step forward. So think about the strategy, the process that accompanies us at every step of what we do. Aiming to what and who we want to be is crucial. That’s what I really enjoy. And remember. We’re always good enough.

Are your steps well planned? Let‘s go!

This article is prepared for you by:

Roman Lejčko

Life Coach and Personal Trainer. I help others on their way to a great physical and mental condition. Looking back over my life experiences I see the progress of human life is going through. Not always easy with lots of challenges. I’m here to guide you through challenges on your life path down to joyful life. Some more info about me.

EUSTRESS, DISTRESS AND HOLIDAYS

Everything that pushes our organism out of balance causes a stress response. “That which has caused us to be out of balance” is the stressor, and the reaction is called stress. It can be either positive in the case of good adaptation, or negative in the case of poor adaptation, which we also call maladaptation. In the extreme situation in which a person has exhausted all adaptive energy, the condition may become incompatible with life.

Let’s take a look at the circumstances under which an exercise or sports stressor can work either positively or negatively. Every training or exercise is a stressor to which our body has to adapt, such as by increase in endurance in the long term, or just by immediately increased performance of the cardiorespiratory system. In the area of ​​psyche, this may occur through the development of volitional
features or an increased motivation while exercising. These are examples of so-called positive stress, where there is a good response to the workload. We call this positive stress EUSTRESS.

What is DISTRESS, a stress that is negative? This may be a stressor in the form of a sports load, when the body reacts poorly to the stress, e.g. to the wear and tear of the joints; muscle imbalance that cause disc hernia; problems with falling asleep in the case of exercising in the late evening hours and the consequent fatigue due to insufficient sleep; exercise addiction, etc.

The stress response occurs on both physical and psychological levels, so both aspects of the stress response need to be taken into account.

How can the holiday season affect us? Let me bring up two extreme examples. If we believe that one week of exercise and sports will make up for the previous months of idleness, we are mistaken. In the best case, there will be only irritation without adaptive effects on one’s physical fitness. In people unprepared to handle the load, for example when skiing, it may happen that untrained tendons and muscles won’t hold a joint together when a fall occurs, resulting in injury. Also, a person who is used to regular sports training may be irritated by the limited space to engage in his or her activity, for example because of family gatherings, changes in the lifestyle routine, etc.

Even top athletes do not train the whole year; they have so-called regeneration period. It does not mean, however, that they do nothing for weeks. They simply reduce the training load, exchange activities for others for which they do not have time otherwise and which they enjoy. To start doing nothing at all would cause them a distress because the body has already adapted to a certain amount
of workload. Equally, if someone is physically inactive and suddenly starts to train “furiously” it causes distress.

Some advice: Everything takes its time. Be it gradual increase of load, appropriate intensity of exercise and time to relax. And as I already mentioned in the previous article, it must be fun. Whatever we do, let’s enjoy it!

Then even holidays can be a sports eustress. How? Those, who regularly engage in sports, can skip a few times, but not all – with a good feeling about having some rest. For those less prepared for a sports load, we choose appropriate sports activities. If we continue to use skiing as an example, we avoid at least the “black slopes”. Also, a fast walk with our loved ones will substitute for individual jogging.

Holidays and vacations are not only at the end of the year, so let us approach them reasonably throughout the year. To enjoy skiing in the mountains, or biking in the summer, it is good to strengthen our muscles in advance, just as we need to adapt our cardiorespiratory system for the workload in order to have fun.

 

This article is prepared for you by:

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KLAUDIA ZUSKOVÁ
Expert in Sport and Exercise Psychology
klaudia.zuskova@gmail.com
www.klaudiazuskova.com

 

LET YOURSELF DRIFT WITH EXERCISE, OR HOW NOT TO END AFTER THE FIRST WEEK

Making the right decision is the basis for a first small step toward regular exercise or sport activity. First, it is necessary to realise that motives for exercising or engaging in a sport vary. That‘s why we should custom tailor modest personal goals, which we then can achieve. Example. I want to get fit. A small target in this case may be to achieve climbing to the third floor, albeit slowly, but without loosing breath. We don’t need to chase some predefined time result per kilometer. That would cause us yet another pressure – a stressful situation of which we already have enough in our lives. In the beginning,
until we are trained, it is good to follow our feelings and these should certainly be pleasant.

The mental state in which one performs a certain activity most effectively is the state of “flow” also known as being “in the zone”. This state was first described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
It is a state of concentration of attention toward an activity in which one does not perceive time, does not judge oneself. We are just totally absorbed by what we do. How do we achieve this?

1. Our basic needs should be fulfilled. For example, we should not be hungry or thirsty, we should have plenty of fresh air and we should have enough sleep. Then one should have one’s own reason why one wants to train. A given is that one is healthy and is not in pain. When we have a toothache, we will certainly not experience flow. It is essential from a training point of view to set a specific task which we are able to handle, but which is also a little more demanding, so it becomes a challenge. When I know that I can do ten squats easily, I will try to do twelve, or five squats on a balance board. That is the basis of motivation.

2. The conditions in which we find ourselves are also of key importance. That’s why you should choose a place to train in which you feel comfortable. If I do not like a lot of people around, I choose a fitness centre, which is smaller, or a time, which is less busy. If you like music, prepare it in advance in a way that it will pleasantly accompany you and motivate you. Clothing need not copy the latest trend. It should be functional to suck up the sweat well and in the case of outdoors to prevent the body from becoming chilled, for example from the wind. It is important for the clothes to feel comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

3. Social support is important for continued motivation. It can be your friend or partner. It’s someone who either trains with us or supports and stimulates us continuously, even if we do not feel up to it. Just a call with a gentle nudge “I hope you are already putting your shoes on! ” feels good. If we don’t happen to have someone like that already, don’t be embarrassed to ask someone from your surrounding.

The more we experience the state of flow in the training, the more we are motivated and the desired effect will arrive sooner. Finally, remember that even if you did not find the time to go to the gym today, do just a few exercises at home or at work. „To stay connected is easier than to start from scratch“.

This article is prepared for you by:

pastedGraphic.png   Klaudia Zusková

Expert in Sport and Exercise Psychology

klaudia.zuskova@gmail.com

www.klaudiazuskova.com