One of the most satisfying feelings I've ever had is completing something significant on my list of goals. It puts the little day-to-day things I have to do into perspective and helps keep me focused on the big picture. Having clear-cut goals allows me to work a plan instead of merely hoping I'll eventually end up in the right place.
Goals have worked for me, but there seemed to be something missing. It was a piece I wasn't even aware of until a client shared her secret list with me. She showed me her "fitness bucket list." It was a brilliant series of physical achievements she wanted to accomplish in her life. It wasn't tied to any particular career, social obligation or marital status. This was simply a list of things she thought would be cool to experience before she died.
She got the idea after going through a very painful divorce. After 20 years of marriage, she was now single, didn't like what she saw in the mirror but had no idea how to change. The only thing she knew was that if she made a list, she would have something to put her energy into.
The first item on her list was to run a 5K race. Then she added taking a paddleboard around the island of Key West. Those were the only two items she had for several months.
Four days after making the list, she joined a runners club. They taught her how to prepare for races, gradually helped build up her endurance -- and she ran her first 5K just seven months after writing it down. Her time was a respectable 26:38, thank you very much!
Then she took classes on paddleboarding. Just three months after she started, she successfully navigated on her paddleboard completely around the island. Along the way she dropped 25 of the 30 pounds she'd been carrying around. Now it was time to get serious.
Her fitness bucket list now includes things like taking a five-day camping trip through Yellowstone, rafting down the Grand Canyon, climbing to the peak of Machu Picchu and finishing a cross-country ski race. She also wants to enter a long-distance bike ride for charity, complete a mud run with a team of friends and hike to the top of Mount Fuji.
They all sounded like fun things to do, so I put them on my newly created fitness bucket list as well. For more ideas, I asked around to see what other people wanted to do.
A female friend in her 30s wants to learn how to dive, take boxing lessons, run a marathon and be able to do 10 pull-ups without assistance. A male friend in his 70s wants to compete in a triathlon, climb a volcano in Hawaii and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. A teenager who works out with me wants to learn to ballroom dance, how to take a jump wearing a pair of in-line skates and how to ride a unicycle. A retired couple learned how to ski and they're now in the middle of skiing seven mountain ranges in seven years.
Since I've started asking, I've met people who are learning how to walk a tightrope, do tricks with a jump rope and one person who's learned how to climb through caves.
When you make your list, it doesn't have to be expensive or exotic. It can be a feat of strength like completing 20 pushups or dunking a basketball. You can go for the unusual, like learning to juggle or shooting a bow.
The only rule is, whatever goes on your list must require some measure of physical fitness, physical challenge or improvement from your current state. Anything that helps you learn something new is encouraged.
Now it's your turn. Write down at least five things to put on your fitness bucket list. Carry it with you and refer to it often. Share it with your friends and work toward something on that list every day.
Caution: Before beginning any exercise program check with your doctor or health care professional first. For a free consultation with a trainer, call 305- 296-3434. More articles are online at www.WeBeFit.com.