Support that Hurts and Helps

Personal pet peeve time.  I hate mediocrity.  It is not my desire to be mediocre. To race to the middle ground. The standard has been set too low and I wish to raise the bar.

It is frequently our acceptance of the status quo that helps us find mediocrity.  And society will happily support you in your mediocrity.  Instead of supporting personal integrity and self-discipline we’ve given way to self-importance and self-indulgence.  Society will set aside calling you out on unhealthy habits so as not to ‘judge’ you.  Culture will value your self-esteem over properly educating you.

Our society seems to have settled on the overall message that to encourage and support means to tell people that they don’t have to change.  I think that’s an incredibly dangerous message.  When it comes to health and fitness that kind of support will support us all the way to an early grave.  Which means it’s not actually support at all.

The reality is that we benefit from support only when it’s the right kind!  It’s been said that you are 3x more likely to achieve a goal if you have a strong support network.  Don’t ignore that number.  3x more likely to improve your fitness translates to being less likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other life-altering emergencies and conditions later in life as the result of poor health and fitness!  Tripling your chances at success is not a small thing.

So who do you choose as part of your support team?  The people who actually want you to succeed and are willing to kick your butt or say the hard things you need to hear in order to help you get there.  These are the people who will hold you accountable, actively check in on you, and whose taste in resources you trust if you need more help.  These people will support your growth in the areas of personal integrity and self-discipline by being willing to say the things that hurt a bit so you can be the best you that you can be.

Society says don’t judge and tells people cruising towards cardiovascular disease that they are perfect the way they are. Is it judgment when your doctor tells you that you are obese and on your way to a heart attack?  Absolutely not. Your doctor cares about your well-being enough to say you are carrying too much fat, that your diet is terrible, that you spend too much time sitting, and that you need to do better.  They invest in educating you if they realize you’re struggling because you’re missing important information.  Find more people like that!  That is a powerful source of external energy to draw on to help you keep going when someone cares about you enough to hold you accountable in reaching your goals.  It might hurt in the moment, but ultimately it leads to us feeling valued.  And feeling valued can get us through some tough things.  Like improving our health and fitness.

Goals must be set if we are to improve and advance as people. We must challenge ourselves and others.  We are human and stumble and fall, but with every effort put in we have opportunity to gain ground, to move forward, to be better than we were before, together.  And if you realize that people in your life are cheering you towards mediocrity maybe it’s time to stop giving them tickets to the game and relegate them to the parking lot for now.  Fill your benches with people who actually want to see you win.

I want to help you set and reach your goals.  I can be part of that support network.  I’m willing to challenge you.  I’m willing to say the things you may not want to hear.  I’m willing to do that because I care about your health and wellness.  And I care about you being able to say that you lived your life and didn’t just exist.

Check out my online coaching options from short-term support to ongoing fitness mentoring, assemble your support team (I hope I’m a part of it) and go Live.


I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

NOT because I have a problem with goal setting, but rather I believe in goal setting and therefore engage in it year round.

By now, over 90% of New Year’s Resolutions have failed. It is estimated that approximately 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the middle of February.  Gyms actively sell fitness memberships to as many people as possible knowing that less than 20% will actually use their membership for any real length of time.

So the whole New Year thing isn’t working.  Especially when it comes to fitness goals.  That doesn’t mean that goal setting doesn’t work.  Quite the opposite.  We instead need to make some adjustments as to where we are drawing strength to change.

New Year’s goals tend to fail because we draw external strength from a communal magical feeling that this is a special day to help us change, and draw internal strength from our positive feelings about entering a new year and feeling like we have been given a blank slate.  Those feelings wear off!  Fast!!!  We need something stronger to fuel us for the long-term so we can actually get somewhere.

We need internal resolve and we need external support.  In this post I’m going to focus on resolve.

And before you start thinking you have to become some stone-cold, hard-hearted person who shuts off all feeling in order to soldier on… I’m not expecting you to be John Wick.  Resolve is not turning off your feelings.  Instead, it’s choosing to not rely on them to be your fuel or compass.  What does that look like when you set goals?  It means focusing on what you know is going to help you move forward.  It means being SMART.

You’ve probably seen this before, but here’s a very quick review of SMART goal-setting:

Make your goals:
Specific (know exactly what you want to achieve)
Measurable (how will you know when you’re successful?)
Action-oriented (what will you DO to make it happen?)
Realistic (stretch yourself, but be honest with what is possible), and
Time-framed (when will I be done?).

Write it down. Make it a positive statement. Tell others. Recruit allies. You can write a statement like “wouldn’t it be awesome if…” and then set a large goal based on that.

Sign it: “I, Nathan Walton, will do the following specific awesome-yet-possible thing that can be measured in this manner by the following date. <signature>”

Break that down into smaller benchmarks if you need to and get to work. Be consistent over time. And when the goal is health and fitness oriented, I’ve found it very helpful to also book an event where your goal and resolve will be challenged. A place where you can put your achievements into action.

For example, I’ll be running the Ragnar Relay ( with a team, covering 300+ km on the run – only 58 km are mine to run. Yeah. ONLY 58 km! I truly do not know if I can do it. I’ve been training hard and trying to eat right, but also struggling with injury. In less than 2 weeks I will find out if I am successful. And I’ll be honest that while training I have felt excited, frustrated, energetic, utterly depleted, ready for anything, and like a failure.  Feelings change.  My goals haven’t.  And because I’m focusing on what I know is going to help me move forward instead of how I feel on any given day I’m continuing to move forward.  And the result is that even if I fail to meet my larger goal perfectly, I will have pushed myself to be better than I was and will have an incredible experience.

Goal setting is an opportunity to test your resolve.  Testing your resolve is an opportunity to be fully alive.  Running the Ragnar Relay is a life experience I am truly looking forward to.  For me, traveling with my team to cover that kind of distance makes me feel alive.  It’s a fine thing.

And I would like for more people to have that kind of experience.  I’ll write another post about finding good support for meeting your goals, but for now just know that if you are struggling with achieving your goals, especially if you have seen multiple New Years resolutions come and go with no actual change, I would like to help you out.  We can create and work on your SMART goals together.  Whether you would like me to support you for a short period of time or provide ongoing fitness mentoring, your goals are important and I want you to be able to say you’re alive and not just existing.

Be sure to check out the coaching options on my website.  And go Live.