For many people, the most terrifying time of the year is when the climate shifts from sweatpants and jeans season to shorts and swimsuit season. Hours are spent staring motionless in the mirror in disbelief and shock. “I actually have to go out in public with these legs? And people will see them?”
Many wonder how in the world they let their image slip. I believe it’s because fall and winter are spent hunkered down in your house covered with a blanket or warm clothes. These clothes offer a cover-up and protection. They hide the things that are usually revealed in the summer.
The cold weather clothes tend to cover up our insecurities. Throw on loose-fitting pants and a sweater and you look amazing, right? Heck, spice it up with a huge scarf and now people can’t see your neck, either. This is great! All winter long we hide from the world. But then spring hits, and we find ourselves in that state of depression when we know it’s time to either do work or be that person sweating profusely at the barbecue in pants and long sleeves because we “don’t want to get sunburnt.” Yeah, OK.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why does it seem, year after year, anxiety attack after anxiety attack, we consistently go from slow mode to go mode with our fitness? I believe it’s because people set extrinsic fitness goals. What does that mean? An extrinsic goal is an exterior goal. It’s a goal that is made to improve image or status. The reward from an extrinsic goal is the approval and “thumbs up” from society. These goals are dangerous because they offer a false sense of satisfaction, and the results rarely last. Once people no longer notice the results, once your swimsuit body is covered by sweats, the effort disappears. If no one sees progress what’s the point of doing it, right?
Instead, find an intrinsic goal, or something that adds value to your health, relationships, or mental outlook. Set a goal that does not balance on the approval of other people. Set a goal that does not rise and fall with the seasons. Summer is over, but that doesn’t mean your goal has to be over as well. Find a way to commit to your health, and grind it out all year long.
Information provided by Matt Sillanpaa, Brick House Fitness, 116 Brick St., Bondurant.