One of the very first things I was taught upon entering the field of personal training is that WHAT people want to accomplish is only half the equation to a successful fitness journey. In fact, the goal itself is seldom as important as WHY the individual wants to accomplish it. In my previous years spent working out, I’d never really concerned myself with why I was spending all that time in the gym, let alone why other people would be there. If you’d asked me at that point, “Why do you come to the gym?” My smug faced twenty-one year-old self probably would’ve responded with something to the effect of “Girls love a guy with big arms (and no legs), duh” Six years and many clients later, it’s safe to say I’ve attained just a little more depth with regards to my reasoning for actively maintaining my health and fitness. In addition, I’ve been lucky enough to help others find, and refine the “why behind the what” of their journies. As amputees or individuals with a limb difference, we’re playing life on “Hard” mode. There’s a lot of challenges in daily life with amputation which, perhaps were previously taken for granted. Stepping off a curb now may feel like trying to descend an entire flight of steps in one bound. It can be a big, scary, intimidating world out there, but it’s my personal belief that as amputees/LD (for everyone’s sake I’ll be using the two interchangeably), we should be pushing beyond the status quo and defying the expectations of society as individuals with “disabilities”
Of course, this all sounds well and good, but getting to the point of actually executing can be difficult to say the least. This is the first article in a three-part series that will hopefully help you discover what’s important to you as an amputee, define your goals, and attack them head on in a way that will not let you fail!
Rid Yourself of Preconceived Notions of “Success”
As an amputee, you have to understand that your journey is quite unlike almost any other person on the planet, and thus your path to “success” and the level of success you attain shouldn’t be compared to anyone else’s! It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been “doing this” or how long you’ve been trying, there’s always going to be someone “better” or “worse” The only person you need to concern yourself with getting better than, is the person you were yesterday!
Determine What’s Important to You
In a recent InMotion Article, I wrote on the idea of setting your own goals, regardless of those that are set for you (by a doctor, prosthetist, etc). Determining what’s important to you is a step that precedes goal-setting, though most people subconsciously skip over that. You wouldn’t set the goal to lose 30lbs just for the heck of it, would you? Obviously it has some meaning and importance to you. The things that are important to you, may be different than prior to your amputation, as different areas of your life take on new and different meanings. Take some time, consciously evaluate which aspects of your life have particular importance and meaning to you. For me personally, I know that being able to keep up with my able-bodied friends in activities like hiking, throwing a Frisbee in the park, or any other adventure on which we may find ourselves, has always been important to me. With this goal in mind, I spend time daily focusing on getting better and stronger on my prostheses, so that I can keep up with my buddies and not be a limiting factor in what we’re all doing together. I’ve had friends who have gone through an amputation while engaged, and pushed as hard as they possibly can to walk down the aisle at their wedding. When you consider what all is of importance to you now, as well as in the immediate future, the things that actually matter tend to become much clearer!