[Week 12 of 12 Weeks to a Healthy New Year]
These can be two of the most negative things you can say to or about yourself. Why do people say them so often? Can they be realistically avoided? Do you think being realistic about fitness over the age of 50 is at odds with having a positive outlook about it?
I am obviously talking about saying you can’t or didn’t do things that you maybe should do or want to do. Things that others are doing. If all you do is fill out the above phrases a bit, you can discover positive options:
- I can’t run 27 hours a day.
- On work days, I can’t justify spending 2 hours per day at the gym.
- I didn’t finish the race this time.
- I didn’t learn how to swim yet.
Coming up with more complete thoughts is key to any problem solving. Be specific. Try to communicate to yourself what you think your real frustrations or limitations are.
There are more strategies to being positively realistic about your fitness goals:
1. Make sure you are not just making excuses.
Saying things like “I could never do that!” might be better said,
“I don’t want to do that.” or “I don’t yet have the skills to do that.”
2. Ask yourself if you are willing to take the necessary action.
Many of the things we say we can’t do could be things we can do if we are willing to take habitual steps. Why waste your time and mental energy saying what you can’t do. Rather, spend the time figuring out how to get the results that will make you happy.
3. Consider why you may want to do these things.
There are a whole range of goals that can be fun and motivating. Do you want to go on an exotic hike that you could never have afforded or had time for when younger? Maybe you could set a world record for you age group in something? It could be as simple as the whole family signing up for a local event together.
We may have passed the physical prime of life, but isn’t always as limiting as we think. A lot of time our age just a measure of time past and our bodies have much more potential than we assume. We just need to get out there and use them!
Getting perspective on problems
4. Keep the past in perspective.
Remember when you were in the physical prime of life? Were you actually in prime physical condition then? Switching those words around makes a big difference. It is quite possible that you could get in better shape now that you were for most of your previous life.
5. Never forget that problem solving is part of the process.
No matter what your age. Be prepared to work around unexpected injuries or weather. When you discover certain body parts are weaker than you anticipated, look for ways to make them stronger. If your friends don’t want to join in, find some people with similar interests for camaraderie and insight.
6. Have the whole journey in mind.
Don’t obsess about times or individual events. Enjoy doing the best you can and call it a win, even if you don’t finish a given race. Allow yourself to be satisfied with the progress you have made.
Perfection and Convention
7. Avoid comparing yourself to the pinnacle performances of professional or full time athletes.
Sensational news gets the most headlines, but even the top athletes are not at their peak or at the top of their sport all the time. If they or you are only going to be happy with absolute perfection, it is going to be a disappointing life.
8. Don’t be shy about questioning conventional thinking or equipment.
You might be amazed at how much standard practice is based on clever marketing or misguided presumptions. It is quite possible that the approaches that kept you from enjoying activity when you are younger will still keep you from enjoying it now.
Switching to being barefoot most of the time has had a huge positive impact on my life. I highly recommend that you read my book, Why Does Grandma Run Barefoot. It is full of information useful for all ages
9. Don’t automatically attribute all your challenges to “being of a certain age.”
It might not be because you are “old,” but because you are getting wrong advice. It could also be because you are impatient…
How much difference does age make?
It is undeniable that age has some impact on our physical capabilities. However, it is kind of like the question of talent versus practice. Any experienced music teacher or coach will tell you that practice can often overcome relative lack of talent. Desire and dedication go a long way toward overcoming disadvantages.
Keeping the above points in mind will help you stay realistically positive. Youth is fleeting, but you can feel younger by working wisely with who you are now.