Every year starts the same with the making of New Year’s resolutions. Fitness goals and aspirations are often set in people’s hearts with a high hope mentality that “this will be the year.” Why then does year after year go by with so many unreached aspirations?
I sat down with US Army 1st Lt. Sam Chelanga, the winner of the 2020 Army Ten Miler, former Nike professional athlete and author of “With the Wind, Finding Victory Within,” to hear his top five ways to guarantee fitness success in 2021.
More often than not, goals are not reached because the person loses hope in their ability. He or she is able to quickly convince themselves that what they are reaching for is just too far out of reach. As many plans as you may have made to get where you are going, when it gets hard, the temptation to give up is right there waiting to pounce. The key to succeeding in reaching any goal you may have set for yourself is to truly believe you can, and to constantly remind yourself of that fact.
2. Be Confident
You have what it takes! Sam says, “Everything you need to have victory in whatever it is you are striving for, is already within you.” He went on to explain that there is a false truth that somehow one person is better, more capable, or more prone to success than another. He says the truth is that every person has what it takes. The key is being confident that you are strong and capable enough, and most importantly, that you are already enough with or without reaching the goal.
3. Be Relentless
Most everyone knows that life is already hard. The challenges it presents are tough. To have success there needs to be a strong understanding that the road will not be easy. In order to reach that mountain peak you are seeking, you will need to climb over every obstacle and never give up! “There has to be faith beyond what you can see. There is a purpose in the pain. We should not want to skip over that process. It is in that process that there is a sharpening and conditioning. We must be broken down to be built up stronger.” (Sam Chelanga, “With the Wind”)
4. Work Hard
In a mission, you can’t just show up and wing it. There needs to be recon, strategy, logistics, and a plan. The same goes with striving to reach a fitness goal. You need to figure out exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish. It would be best to lay out a realistic way to get there. You will need to work outside of your comfort zone and truly push yourself toward that goal over and over again. You will need to strive to have the work ethic and the discipline to do what it takes.
Sam says the most important way to guarantee success in the fitness goal you are seeking is to surrender. As contrary as it may seem, it is most important to remember that you cannot guarantee everything will go the way you plan. Life is so beautiful and can be most appreciated when we embrace the windy turns it takes. Trying to force your way to victory will rarely work and Sam believes that even if it does, you will not be as fulfilled as you may think when you reach the top. Sam says that if you are able to go “with the wind” while you continue to grind toward the goals that you seek, you will guarantee not only physical success, but success at your very core.
“There is this moment in the race that is going to determine whether you will podium, if you will have what it takes to cross the line with your hands in the air or if you will go home disappointed. It is this specific moment where it hurts so bad. All of a sudden, your legs tighten, your mind grows weak, and you feel like you can’t move. If you hold on and endure that pain for as long as it lasts, you will break free.” (“With the Wind,” Sam Chelanga)