Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Secret to Achieving Your Goals....Determination, Refusal to Give Up, and a little Planning

Hi Everyone,

I was reading about Diana Nyad's successful 115 Mile swim from Cuba to Florida today. This was her fifth attempt. She did at the age of 64, what she was unable to achieve on her first try at 28. Fitness is a lifestyle with no age limit. It takes work and time. It is worth it. Check out the article about Diana's success here

There is more to this story than physical achievement. There is determination, commitment, refusal to give up, and strength of spirit that is not dimmed by embarrassment, shame or disappointment. 

Did the first 4 attempts to complete this swim hurt? Physically, she survived Jelly Fish Stings, asthma attacks, cuts, scrapes, cramping, and on her fifth trial swimming for 53 hours. Pain is a given, and after the first four attempts and 35 years Diana knew it wouldn't get easier. 

The mental fortitude it takes to attempt something you know will not be easy, and that you may fail is difficult in the best of conditions. Diana undertook this knowing that the world was watching. 

So which of your goals are you putting off due to fear of failure, embarrassment, or difficulty? 

Make a list of these goals. (If you have trouble staying on task or finding focus select one goal to focus on at a time. 

Now write down two actions you can take toward making each goal a reality. Write down two blocks to your goal. What has stopped you from reaching your goals so far? Finally, write down two ways you can overcome whatever is blocking you. If you want to share your goals you can do so in the comments section below, or on my facebook wall

Use this list as a plan/guide to achieving your goals. Update it as needed. Don't let anything (even yourself) stop you. 

I have a lot of interests and goals. You all know most of my fitness goals, so I am going to share a goal from another area of my life. I love singing. I used to sing constantly, and record songs for fun when I was bored at home. I wanted to lay on a piano and sing blues songs. :)

I rarely sing anymore. (Don't worry, this blog will still be about fitness, not singing!) When I see a great musical performance there is a part of me that hurts because I miss it. 

Goal: Start singing again. 

1. Sing at least one a Capella (without music) song per day. 
2. Buy a recording program for my computer. 

1. Fear. I have been told a million times that my voice is to operatic/not mainstream. 
2. I don't play an instrument, so my song writing is limited to vocals and lyrics.  

1. I'm singing for my own pleasure, and recording songs because I enjoy it. Also, I generally don't care what other people think as long as I am happy with my own choices. This should extend to singing as well. 
2. I don't need to play an instrument to enjoy singing. This is not really a valid excuse. However, I do want to learn to play guitar and piano. Those can be separate goals. 

Whatever your goals are, fitness or otherwise, you can achieve them. It may not be easy, but you can do it if you put in the time and effort. Don't give up, and don't stop doing the things you love. Those are the things that bring happiness and passion to your life. 


PS I attached links to a few songs I recorded several years ago. Listening to them reminded me of how much I loved recording songs. "Wanting Me" is a duet/collaboration I did with my best friend from High School, Lenny Boss. "Spider Webs" is an a cappella cover of my favorite Joan Osborne song. "At Last" is one of my favorite classics by Etta James. 


  1. Good idea! So here goes...

    Goal: Lose 40 lbs in next 12 months

    Actions: 1) Exercise for at least 20 minutes, at least 5 times per week. 2) Reduce sugar and fat intake.

    Blocks: 1) Laziness. Not making time or having energy/will to exercise. 2) Sweet Tooth! The intense cravings for sweet, especially in things I love like condensed milk in my tea and pastries or chocolate.

    Overcome: 1) I have at least an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening I can dedicate to exercise. Choose one and stick with it. 2) I've already cut out one of my weaknesses - coca cola - so find one other item I can do without and stick with it.

    I have always been an active person, playing sports, etc. until my late 20s where it basically came to a screeching halt. As I approach 40, I;m more aware of how much weight I've gained simply by not exercising and eating poorly. I don't want to become a size 2 but just want to be at my ideal weight and to be fit again. I know it's going to take time but I am committed to achieving the goal...one day at a time!

    1. I love your plan! You identified some great, healthy ways you can meet your goal. :)

  2. This post made me love your blog even more! I love singing too! You have a beautiful voice! Thanks for sharing! I so needed to read this today!

  3. Hello Melissa,
    Great blog.... Do you train others? New to the Dallas area and looking for someone to sculpt me into shape. I tried looking for a personal email address everywhere on your blog to ask you. thanks for your continued inspiration.

    1. Hi,

      I do train others, but I am not in the Dallas area. I do have fitness friends in Fort Worth. I can be reached at Melissa@benderfitness.com

  4. Same as tamara i just fell a bit more in love with you and your blog. I love singing as well but due to classical singing education have an opera voice as well and not everyone likes that so i feel very self concious about singing. I miss it at lot though. You are a great Inspiration, i will try to sing more! Joining a choir might be a good idea as well.

    1. I love that idea! I used to sing in several choirs, but I have fallen out of it through the years. Happy singing!

  5. One of your best post... Thank you, thank you, Melissa! I think you have an oryginal voice...it's too bad that during workouts you're too tired to sing for us! ;) For example- "Aaaaaand tweeeenty! Sooooo- oook guuuys, thiiiiis iiiis it! Seeee youuu neeeext timeee!" :D

    Up till now I made approximately 40-50 your workouts- my goal is to undergo all of your videos- also those which now seem to be too tough and I skip them ;)

    1. :) Haha, that would keep workouts interesting! It is awesome that you have already made it through 50 workouts!!! Keep it up!

  6. Hey Melissa! Thanks so much for posting this! I think we too often get lost or overwhelmed by other peoples' expectations or comparisons with other people that we lose sight of our own interests and passions. Thanks for sharing! This post really reignited a passion for my own interests in fitness and training! Thank you for all of the hard work you put into this blog!

    p.s. What a great voice!!!

  7. Me again, i just now got to listen to your recordings and just had to chime into the consensus, that you have an amazing voice!! i love the tembre in "at last". absolutely beautiful!

    1. :D Thank you! You all gave me a big smile today!

  8. I come here for the workouts, but get inspired as well by your posts! You have a very unique and fabulous voice--I'd buy your songs on iTunes....:-)