2012 is here….are you ready?

In years past, my New Year’s Resolutions were always the same. Cut the cheese. Lose weight. Get a boyfriend. (?????) And of course the usual, “I will not eat ________, __________ and ____________.”  Booooring…..and senseless. But then again, I had no real plan and no real goal to focus so of course my resolutions were lame, unimaginative and boring.  I never cut out the cheese. It was hit or miss with finding a boyfriend. And when it came to losing weight….well, I had no idea what I was doing wrong in the first place so losing weight without a clear goal in mind was worthless.

Eventually, I stopped making resolutions.  There just did not seem to be a point anymore. I soon realized that what I put down on a piece of paper did not make or break me. I made or broke me. What were my real goals? Did I even have a goal? Did I know what a goal was? I was always left so frustrated, confused and tired of seeing nothing ever really happen.

Fast forward to 2010. I may have stopped writing down my resolutions but I still tried to have goals. In 2010, my goal was to never, ever, EVER have my back pain run my life. I was never going to let my back pain dictate how I lived my life. My goal two years ago was to fix my back. And I was very clear with this goal. I was going to get in the gym, start training and get stronger so I would never have to worry about my back ever again. And in the time since I embarked on that strength program, I have not had to worry about my back.  I continue to work on this goal. My second goal was to start dancing again when I felt I was ready. In August of 2011, after a year of back-saving training, I joined a new company. I am dancing again. My two goals both stemmed from my desire to fix myself, to never feel as helpless as I did that week when I suffered the worst back flare up of all time. At 35, I thought my dance career was over. At 37, I am back stronger than ever, more determined than ever.

Now it is 2012. A new year. A new beginning. While I still do not make resolutions, I do have two very important goals this year.  I said my goals out loud last Tuesday. That Sunday, New Year’s Day, I went into the gym for the first session of the New Year. Nothing heavy – goblet squats, push ups, rows, some swings. 20 minutes into my session, I started bitching. It was all because of my single leg deadlift.(I know what you are thinking – oh yeah, me too. The world is going to come to and end because I cannot seem to get my right glute to fire correctly. I know how ridiculous this sounds. But be patient with me.) I started bitching about how it did not feel like this last week, why am I so weak, blah blah blah. I was subsequently scolded by my husband. I took a deep breath, cleared my mind and got back to business. The cursing under my breath, the muttering to myself….I knew this was going to do nothing for my training. I knew I needed to stop because I was tired of training this way. What was the point? I made up my mind that this year would be different. No more negative talk. No more pissed off Emily when a lift was missed. No more “whoa is me” mentality. Really, what was the point?

So my two goals for myself this year are simple. 1. Have fun with my training. 2. Get excited about lifting again. This includes the Olympic lifts that are so, so technical. I am determined to enjoy learning them all over again. That’s it. Nothing specific. Nothing complicated. That’s it. I love training hard. I love lifting weights and pushing my capabilities. I love watching  my numbers go up and adding more weight to the bar each time. I love how I feel after a good session. What I don’t love is the negative talk that sometimes infiltrates my sessions. What I don’t love is the expectation that I have to be perfect right away. As I have gotten stronger, I have also gotten more competitive with myself, a good and bad thing. When I miss a lift or don’t have a “good” session or what I deem to not be a good session, I berate myself and get frustrated and sometimes, sad as this sounds, cry a little. What began as my goal to get strong and fix my body slowly started to turn into an unhealthy competition with myself. The final four months of 2011 were mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. I actually had to step away from my lifting for the month of November because I was so exhausted, hurt and unfocused. I knew my training was suffering so it made sense to stop for awhile and focus on healing my body and mind. I still trained, just not with barbells. I did kettlebell swings, get ups, presses, goblet squats. It felt really good to heal.

So when I found myself hating on me again on New Year’s day, I was shocked at ME. I made up my mind right then and there that this was not going foreshadow what my year was going to be like. I was going to relish the little triumphs. Celebrate each accomplishment. Accept that I have weaknesses and train my weak points with the same determination as I train my strengths. Stick with my program but not be afraid to mix it up as needed. Listen to my body. Regain that feeling I had when I first started to train, when everything was new and exciting. As a result of my new found goals, that Tuesday, I had a GREAT session. I was able to back squat again after almost two months off because of a nagging shoulder injury. It felt great to feel the bar on my back again. It felt so good to be back to doing what I LOVE. It just felt right. And fun. I laughed at one point during my sets and whispered to myself, “I really missed this.” For me, squatting and deadlifting is what I do. It has been a staple part of my life for a long while. And it is not going to change anytime soon.

As a result of my new resolution, I had a great bench session two nights later. When the goal with your training is to enjoy lifting, the program takes care of itself. The weight goes up. The reps get easier. The form gets better. The nagging injuries fade into the darkness.

As someone said to me this past Saturday after a wonderful afternoon of Olympic lifting (the first session back for me in four months), “You need to have the same respect for your lifting as you have for your clients.” What she said rang so true to me.  My clients always comment on how much fun they have when they train, how much better they feel when they leave the gym, how exercise is no longer a chore but something they really enjoy. They look forward to their sessions. They look forward to seeing others in class. I know how much I enjoy coaching and training them. I need to show the same respect to myself.

I don’t know what this year will bring for me or for my clients. It is just the beginning, just 8 days into the New Year. We have the whole year ahead of us. Another whole year to get stronger, move better, feel better and enjoy training. 2012 is here… are you ready?

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