Are you interested or are you committed to a lifestyle change?

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Green Healthy Living Apple Illustration on white background.

Interested people do what is convenient. Committed people do what is necessary. Which group are you in?

This is the question my instructor routinely asks at my cycling class just before we embark on a tough climb or start an intense interval series. Are we interested? Or are we committed?

  • Are we interested in being able to sustain the tough hill climb or are we committed to sustaining the tough hill climb?
  • Are we interested in maintaining and completing our interval or are we committed? She encourages us to identify our goal ahead of time – otherwise, it is too tempting to adjust our bikes to make it just a little easier to complete the session.

The actual person who said the original quote is leadership expert and author named Ken Blanchard, who said this: “There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”

I think this quote has relevance to anyone who is setting goals for lifestyle change or improvement.

Interested vs committed:

When people think about lifestyle change, people often set goals expressing a high-level wish for an area of their life they would like to be different – lose weight, eat better, be fitter, complete a race, quit smoking, pay off debt and more!

In between your set goal and the end-result you envision is a big gap consisting of the daily habits, hard work and consistent commitment required to get to your endpoint. In our world of instant-everything, it is often surprising for people to learn through experience what it actually takes to achieve their goal. This is where the concept of interested versus committed come in. Let me share a personal example.

My own experience with setting a lifestyle goal:

In 2015, I set the goal to run a sub-50 minute 10 km race. This kind of fitness goal requires being able to run the distance and to sustain this faster pace for the duration of the run. I hired a personal trainer to help me who identified I needed to strengthen my legs, achievable through weight training and through “speed training” (hill running and sprint runs). I felt I could do most of what was required.

 

As I trained, I realized that I did not enjoy speed training! When I ran, I liked to just go out, enjoy the fresh air, enjoy the scenery and the chance to be active. I was comfortable running long distances and enjoyed how the running experience gave me a chance to think and reflect.

 

What I learned was that I intensely disliked being uncomfortable during a run! I didn’t enjoy running hills or sprinting 400 m while trying to maintain a pace that resulted in my heart rate going maximal and me gasping for my breath!

 

Over the 5 months, I did my strengthening exercises, ran my long runs, did my recommended and did my hill and sprint runs….sort of. I did most of my recommended hill and sprint runs, but did miss a few of these required training sessions. I recall getting caught up with a nasty virus a few times that winter, forcing me to miss some important runs while I got better.

The difference is that when I got better, I continued with the workouts that were more comfortable and convenient for me – the slow and steady runs, and not the important speed training which I didn’t like or enjoy.

 

I didn’t like the experience of being that uncomfortable during a workout. I justified it to myself with all kinds of excuses – at least I am out running, at least I am able to run the distance…I thought that maybe on race-day, I will just push myself really hard and see where that gets me.

What were the results?

I ran my 10 km race. My result? A 50:13 time! I missed my target by 13 seconds! This difference was an average of just over 1 second per kilometer slower than my required pace to achieve my goal!  I was interested in running faster…but I was not committed to running faster.

[This image shows that I ran the 10 km course – but that I weave all over the course when I run! According to my watch, I DID achieve my goal. However, the official race time from when I started and finished is what I have to go by].

My goal was a stretch for me – but it was not out of my ability. I could have achieved this goal if I had worked just a little harder and been more consistent on the training that was hard for me.

I was not committed to being uncomfortable for the short term, which was a necessary requirement for me to achieve this goal.

I still ran my race, and achieved a personal best – and of course, I was proud for that. But, I did not achieve my original goal. And that is because I was not truly committed to this goal.

[This image is of myself and my friend Heidi. She ran an amazing race!!!]

 

As you think about setting your own lifestyle goals, I would invite you think hard about your goals and whether you are interested in your goal…or whether you are truly committed.

If you need help with setting wellness goals, book a free discovery call with me.

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Food, Nutrition & Culinary Coach, Registered Nutritionist and Calgary Dietitian, Calgary, AB.

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