Saturday, October 08, 2022

Health & Fitness: Lesson 1 - How to develop your vision

To borrow from Stephen Covey's book: The seven habits of highly effective people, in fitness as in life, you need to begin with the end in mind. 

What do you want your health situation to be in ten or twenty years? 

How to develop your vision 

Develop a picture of what you want your health to be. All we are doing at this stage is defining what we want. We'll worry about the how later. To help me do this, I learnt from Massy Arias that there are are three different dimensions along which to think about this. 

The first dimension is Health. If you currently have any disease, your health goal might be complete healing from current diseases, and to not acquire any new diseases.

The next dimension is Performance. Here, you can explore attributes like strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. It was this broad range of considerations that led me to Pilates after years as a runner, swimmer, and weight-trainer. You can also explore learning new sports like swimming, tennis, pilates, weight-training or boxing as a way to expand your social circle and have fun. You can even explore, as I am doing the opportunity to not only participate but become an instructor in the medium to long term.

The final dimension is Aesthetics. Here, you get to include your ideal weight, your vital stats, and body composition, that is, proportion of fat to muscle you want to have.

To Massy's three dimensions, I will include a fourth dimension which I have found absolutely necessary and that dimension is Fun. How do you want to feel? How do you want to enjoy your journey from here to your vision? Will it be a solo pursuit, something you do with a few friends, or in community? What does an enjoyable journey look like for you? The time when I enjoyed running the most was at Duke University because I had a consistent running partner, and I had access to the gorgeous Al Buehler Running Trail. Without those, running was not as fun for me so I tabled that for later. I did not enjoy swimming solo but have enjoyed swimming with friends so I now do not consider swimming as a good core exercise for me but it does serve as a recreational activity to do with friends. I also noticed that when I was weight-training, the best part was the endorphins at the end, but I didn't actually enjoy the process, so I don't do it anymore. Boxing though! Boxing!!! Boxing made me mentally strong. Therefore it is definitely an activity I'd like to explore in the future for that benefit alone. Out of all these, I selected Pilates as my main exercise because the entire experience of Pilates is enjoyable for me. You may also have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince😀 and you might find that even those you don't marry can become your friends. This is such a terrible analogy but I'm going to leave it right here, and run away.

Write it down

As you imagine and choose what you want, write down your vision on paper. You need a half-pager or 1-pager to start. So do your best at getting a draft down. You will refine your draft over time as you learn more about yourself when you're actually on your course.

When you have written down everything you want, try to summarise it in one liner

My own one-liner currently reads: To remain healthy, fit and attractive

I would like to revise it in the future to include the element of joy/fun.

Add photos

Next, select photos that reflect your vision. In my own case, what I did initially was find a photo of myself when I looked my best in my twenties. But over time, I realized I actually wanted to sculpt an entirely new body. To help you visualize, you can google “fit body” , "pilates body", "yoga body", to find examples of physiques that inspire you. This is because marathoners tend to have different physiques from swimmers. So explore the different options, and choose what you want.

Then print out a picture or two that inspire you to serve as the mental picture you’re working towards. I've come across the advice to clip off the head off the pictures and replace it with your own head to drive home the message to your subconscious that this is where you’re heading. Don't forget to include photos of how you will feel during your journey to this physique. Keep looking at these photos regularly to inspire you to do what is necessary to achieve your vision. 

This is one of the photos that I have on my fitness vision board. Unfortunately I did not include the source. Kindly help me to credit the source if you know who this is.

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