Why Your Goals May Not Really Be Goals
In our last couple blog posts, we talked a lot about some different physical aspects of fitness. This time, we’re going to talk a bit more about some mental and emotional aspects of fitness—specifically the deceptively complicated principle of goal-setting.
This is especially prudent now that we're in prime New Year's Resolution planning season.
Before you rush to make a laundry list of next year's goals, though, let's consider what having a goal really means.
There are a lot of reasons why we decide to start (or continue) working out. A lot of this has to do with having certain “goals” in mind. Maybe you want to lose some inches around your waist. Or you want to lift heavier weights. It’s possible you want to PR in that race you have coming up next month.
We throw the word “goal” around a lot, so much so, that having a goal can be a bit intimidating and pretty scary. Your goal of losing weight for that special event soon becomes a looming “X” on your calendar, so you decide you’ll skip that snack you wanted even though you were hungry. You follow all of the curated feeds of Instagram models flaunting the body you want. You compulsively Google quick weight-loss tips and programs.
We call all of these things “goals”, when really these are just results. And when we obsess over these results, we not only make ourselves unhappier, but it takes the joy out of fitness and the journey it takes to get there (more on that later).
We call all of these things 'goals', when really these are just results.
Well, actually there is, but we love a good opportunity for a pun.
Setting an effective personal goal is a lot more than just constantly chasing the results that you want. Fitness shouldn’t feel like a constant rat race of result after result after result.
When you consider your goal, don’t think in the framework of an end result, rather, think about it first as your “Why”. Your Why is something that you set. It’s not something anyone, besides you, can determine. It isn’t dictated by your social media followers, or by your family, or even the doctor who may be telling you to change your lifestyle for health reasons.
To find your why, it takes soul searching.
Your Why won’t be the same as anyone else’s and sets you apart from all others. What’s your purpose?
Trust us, it’s not simple. We’ve conditioned ourselves to think about goals—especially in the world of fitness—as just numbers, figures, times, increases, decreases. It’ll take some time and introspection to really figure out what your Why is. Part of the reason why your Why is so important to understand about yourself is that it should apply to your personal, professional, and fitness aspects of your life.
Once you’ve landed on your Why, that’s when you can truly set actionable goals that align and help you move forward in your Why and your purpose.
These goals fall into two handy buckets:
you can't control outcomes, but you can control your behaviors
Sure, getting that PR in the half marathon would have been awesome, but you stuck to that training plan, you changed your diet to fuel your body correctly, and finished the race. All of that is a victory and a goal accomplishment in itself.
It’s important to have goals in your life but using your Why as a compass will make your goals feel so much more valuable.
Remember, as you think about the new year, your goals are your goals—you determine them, and we’re just here to be part of the journey—a part of the process to help you get there.