Life Health

Goals can't just be what's on the scale

By Dai Manuel



Do you ever feel fat, tired, stressed out, and like life is lacking direction and commitment? Well, you’re not alone. Many of us get caught up with the day-to-day push and pull that is our lives. Time never slows down and priorities never lessen, but this begs the question — what do we do about it?


For a few hundred people, the first step involves drawing a line in the sand and taking a stand like William B. Travis did in 1836 (but more on that later).

On March 21, Kin’s Farm Market launches the 28-day Transformation Health Challenge, where participants choose to commit 30 minutes a day for 28 days to optimizing their health, wellness and happiness.

There’s no cost to join, but an application and questionnaire is required to identify goals and potential obstacles.

As a trainer with 20 years of coaching, I often find when clients undertake these types of lifestyle reboots, they quantify their goals based on a number on a scale or a notch on a belt loop. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn’t a long-term solution.

What works is knowing the “why” driving us to lead the lifestyle that we want? To put this into context, answer this: “What lifestyle do you wish to lead now?” or “How would you like to spend the last 20 years of your life?” And more importantly, “How will your health affect that lifestyle?”

We can’t simply measure the years in our life, but need to adopt an attitude that places greater emphasis on the quality of life.  

Author Paulo Coelho said it best when he wrote, “It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.”

For three participants, this quote rings truer than true. Kevin, Michelle and Abhay are three challengers selected from hundreds of applicants to be followed throughout the 28-day challenge.

Their personal goals reflective of where they find themselves in life today. Kevin, a 50-year old married man with no children and full-time career, has different goals from those of Michelle, who at 39 finds herself pulled in a thousand directions as a full-time mother, wife and career woman. Meanwhile Abhay, a 25-year-old single man, is committed to earning his degree in engineering while working full-time to put himself through school.

The goals are what you would expect from the chosen three: burn fat, gain muscle and rehab some old injuries. However, the WHY behind their goals resonated with me deepest. A desire to feel more confident in one’s own skin, the ability to get back to playing sports without fear of further injury, and to feel more energetic to enjoy life. All of these are big drivers and emotionally charge us to look closely at the bigger picture.

In 1836, William B. Travis, while commanding the defenders of the Alamo and considering surrender, drew a line in the sand and asked those willing to stand ground and defend the Alamo to their deaths, step over the line. This metaphorical action of “drawing a line in the sand” is representative of challenges we face in life, providing a test of commitment — when it comes to making a significant health and lifestyle change for yourself, are you prepared to step over the line?  

Over the coming weeks, be sure to check this column as I report back on how our challengers are doing. And if you’d like to come along and participate in this journey, you can register at

Everything starts with a personal decision. Choose you and your health, draw a line in the sand and take that first step — we’ll be here to help you along the way.

Dai Manuel talks about health, fitness and lifestyle online at and on Twitter @DaiManuel