In March 2014 several of my colleagues decided to join 12WBT, and they invited me to join with them. The plan was to support each other through the journey. Initially I felt obliged to join – I didn’t feel I could say no, however there was also a part of me that truly wanted to join, that wanted to change, and start living life again. I also knew at this point in my life I had nothing to lose, with the glaringly obvious exception of 75 kilos!
I was absolutely terrified when I first joined, so much so to the point of feeling nauseous. What if I fail? What happens if I put the weight back on? What will people think? I had almost defeated myself before I started with such negative self talk. But fortunately I didn’t quit. Deep down there was enough courage to try one more time.
Also read: Tips For Moving Past Negativity
Set your S.M.A.R.T goal
When I set myself a goal to kayak in Antarctica more than 12 months ago. I had to address both the physical and mental challenges. It is imperative to be very clear about setting your goal. Not just what the goal is but why you are doing this and what this means to you. By making S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), you take the most important step to making them a reality.
Be specific about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.
What are the measures of success not just for the final goal but for each stage along the way that will get you there. It is important to not just measure success by the final goal but all of the mini goals along the way.
Make sure it is a goal you can achieve with respect to the time and resources.
Be honest about what you can achieve. For me, setting out to be a champion kayaker is unrealistic but aiming to be competent enough to be safe, enjoy the activity and small enough to fit into a dry suit were realistic!
Determine the time frame over which you plan to achieve this goal. Ensure your time frame is realistic with respect to what you can commit to.
Also read: 7 Tips for Achieving ‘SMART’ Goals
Three Steps To Achieve My Goal
Get on the water and start breaking down the mental barriers, which were in reality my biggest hurdle.
After having lost some weight, I was able to fit into a sit in kayak, learn how to use it effectively, and refine my skills. I joined a kayak club so I could get familiar with the different types of kayaks.
Once confident with the equipment and skills, I tackled the big ugly ocean, made friends with it and all that exists within it and keep practicing rain, hail or shine, night or day!
I was targeting a weight between 80-82kg to comfortably fit into a dry suit. I was the fittest I have been for over 15 years. I made up a goal page and was lucky enough to have Mish sign it in person. I looked at it every single day – it was my inspiration. I found a random picture on the internet of a kayaker taken from behind paddling through icebergs in Antarctica, Something about this picture resonated with me above all others. It was calm, focussed and content, it was living. I took this picture to Antarctica with me.
Commit to Your Goal
The size of your goal is irrelevant, big or small it makes no difference, what counts is committing to it day in, day out. Having the courage to change is essential. My new base line is now that I am a fit, healthy person working their way towards new goals that includes some weight loss but more importantly embracing the opportunities that life has to offer. I am proud of myself for having made both the choice and commitment to changing my life. What next?
I am still working that one out but a few contenders include paddling either the Arctic or Galapagos waters next, hiking the MacDonnell Ranges, learning to ski or maybe even taking up a new sport like rogaining. I need to give it some thought but regardless here’s to all the new goals and adventures to come. Life is finally here for the taking and taking it I am!