Reevaluating Goals: Intention vs Outcome

My suitcase is about 18 hours behind me, so I’m currently hanging out at our AirBnB apartment waiting for it to arrive. Without it, I only have the jeans, tank top, long-sleeved henley, and boots I arrived in. Plus no change of underwear OR a toothbrush. Yuck! The old traveling advice about packing everything you might need in your carryon bag is good advice; unfortunately, it doesn’t work when you were planning to carry on your rollerboard and then get stopped at the gate and forced to check due to full overhead bins. (Stupid me for not getting to the gate on time.)

On the bright side, Gran Canaria is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to explore more! Last night, our gracious host Alberto walked us around Las Palmas, which is the capital city of Gran Canaria. He lives only a block from the beach, and it was gorgeous to walk along the promenade – and especially to see how many people were out running, even at 8pm. Alberto told us that there are always people running on the beach, no matter what the hour, and I got very excited to think about how I wanted to go for a run there myself. Or perhaps yoga on the gorgeous sandy beach? The possibilities were endless – but of course, I need to wait for my stupid suitcase before I can do any of that. (Running or yoga in jeans and boots? No thanks.)

As we continued on our mini tour, Alberto kept stopping to show us individual points of interest. He’s lived here all his life, and seemed to know half the people we passed! Alberto was great about introducing us to various waiters and restaurateurs, so it was nice to know that we’d be well cared for when we went to dinner. I was starving! So we quickly chose an Italian restaurant on the beach – Al Maccaroni.

The prices were very reasonable, and the food was very good. The highlight of the meal, though, was learning that the menu of Spanish wines, which varied in price from 13-18 Euros, was for an entire bottle and not just a glass or quartino! Todo los vinos, por favor! (This bit of Spanish brought to you by one Miss Theodora as part of her “most important Spanish phrases to know” lesson.)

After dinner, nothing too exciting – just back to the apartment so we could turn in early. But just before I went to sleep, I realized something – I hadn’t worked out at all that day! Sure, we had walked around the city some, but my definition for my work out every day challenge was that it had to be something that I went out of my way to do, not something I did in the course of my day. (So if I needed to take the subway, I couldn’t count walking there, but if I got off a stop or two early to walk extra, that counts.)

And so, like a crazy person, I found myself working out in my underwear in my room at 10pm (remember, I had no workout clothes; just jeans and a t-shirt that needed to last till whenever my suitcase arrived). It was honestly a pretty worthless workout too – ten minutes of leg lifts, squats, and calf raises, with a 30 second plank thrown in. I didn’t want to do any burpees/squat jumps/etc, because I was concerned about making too much noise. I also didn’t want to sweat, since I didn’t know when I’d be getting a change of clothes. So I didn’t really get my heart rate up at all, which is the real point of a workout. In short, total fail!

When I finally went to bed, I really regretted that workout. (Aha, I said it!) I guess I had achieved my ten minutes a day goal, but for what purpose and at what cost? I probably didn’t make any strength gains, and definitely didn’t burn many calories. And the cost? Well, doing something like compulsively exercising in my room late at night on vacation just made me feel like a crazy person – which is not a good feeling. There was no purpose whatsoever to that ten minute workout, aside from the stupid pride of saying “yes, I did at least ten minutes every day.”

Before I got out of bed to do my ten minutes, I wasn’t considering skipping my workout because I was lazy or tired; I was considering skipping it because it wasn’t going to be a productive workout and a complete waste of time. And those are very valid reasons, one that I didn’t intend for my dumb goal to contradict. Sure, it’s only ten minutes, but I believe that every minute of every day counts for something. Why waste it on something useless? It didn’t make sense to work out, and I should have reevaluated my goal based on the actual circumstances.

The point of setting a goal to work out for ten minutes every day was not for me to waste time. It was so that on the days I was too busy or otherwise not feeling it, I knew that I could get away with just ten minutes of something – but that “something” should have been a productive something. Most of the time, the goal of ten minutes a day inspires me to do far more. Even when it doesn’t, it gets me to do ten minutes of something sweaty – like my sweaty and out of breath magazine workouts in Puerto Rico. After ten minutes of those, I felt good about myself, like I had accomplished something. Ten minutes of this made me feel like crap – and that was not the original intent of my goal.

So, screw pride and streaking. I still do want to work out every day, because I think it helps keep me on track 99% of the time. But on occasions like last night, I should have given up trying to achieve the goal for the sake of achieving the goal, and reevaluated why I was doing it. Intentions are every bit as important as outcomes, and while I technically worked toward my goal last night, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.

Lesson learned.

Comments

  1. Nice work making the most of everything without the suitcase and your things. I hope it comes soon for your sake! There have been times I threw in little workouts like you did last night, which were to say the least…pointless. But at the same time, sticking to your goal and plan is commendable. Most would have easily thrown in the towel and said forget it, you at least gave it a shot and that is worth something.

  2. Laura, thanks for the encouragement! I think the tricky part is that you never know until you actually try to achieve the goal whether it was worth it or not. The key is to constantly reevaluate the purpose behind your goals – which in this case was not in line with my behavior. But at the same time, it’s a VERY fine line between something being pointless and someone being too lazy to put the work in, and I’ll admit that I didn’t recognize which was the case for me the other night!

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