Do you know when a goal is the wrong goal for you?
A couple months back, I wrote on this blog about my most recent shoulder surgery. (I had my right shoulder done 3 years ago. This year I “balanced” things with work on the left wing.) Though my progress has been great, I am still a few months away from “being back to normal.” Whatever that means. New normal as they say?
Today, one of my gym buddies asked me about the prognosis for post-surgery life. Would I be “good as new”? Would I be able to work out like a 20-something gym rat? Would I have limitations or a reduced capacity for activity?
Good questions that made me ponder, once again, the value of healthy goals.
No, I will not be able to mimic a 20-something in the gym. But that was never my goal with this surgery. I had short-term goals (pain relief and ability to accomplish simple everyday functions that I was not able to do). Long-term I want to continue with my routine, albeit revised, in the gym.
Unfortunately, for too many years my gym goals centered on being able to lift heavier and heavier weights so that I could achieve a body type like others in the weight room. That led to my first shoulder injury. I did not learn from that experience—and went right back to feeling I could keep ratcheting up the regimen. And then I suffered through a second shoulder injury from attempting to act like a 20-year old in the gym.
So, it took two shoulders to understand the goals I had set in the gym were the wrong goals for me. As a trainer told me, no matter how much I lifted and trained I was not going to have the “guns” (biceps) of the “big boys” in the gym. We just have different musculature. Those packing the heavy “guns” would have a tough time keeping up with me in a cardio session/class.
For some people, recalibration of goals is a failure of sorts in their eyes. “If I have to scale back then what good is the surgery? Why bother if the prognosis won’t allow me to be what I used to be?” Here are a few thoughts:
- Keeping a goal that obviously harms me (physically, spiritually, emotionally, or socially) seems foolish.
- Diminished capacity does not equate with diminished motivation, desire, and ability to achieve. I can still set lofty goals.
- Reflective recalibration leads to a refreshing reality check.
- Unhealthy goals lead to injury…which leads to pain…which leads to operating at less than capacity (anyway!)…which leads to down time.
I don’t have time for injuries. I don’t want to continually work around the injuries. I don’t want to spend money on injuries. Especially when I can make an effort to avoid the injuries.
Some might call that rationalization or getting lazy or giving up or getting old. I don’t. As long as I continue to stretch myself and reach for challenging goals I will be fine. The trick becomes in identifying the line between challenging and damaging. In my case, two shoulders have pointed out the line. And I have decided to listen.
Are you paying attention to your feedback?
Video recommendation for the week:
This week’s video takes a different look at whether or not we should announce our goals to the world.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.