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Why Figuring Out Your Fitness Goals is So Difficult
Determining the things we want in life are the toughest decisions we face.
There are simply too many options. A million and one careers to pursue. 50 states to make a home. No children or many. And don’t get me started on picking a movie to watch — oftentimes I scroll for twenty minutes then give up out of frustration.
Choosing a fitness goal is just as difficult. Should I focus on losing weight? Building muscle? Improving heart health? Running a faster 5k? While many of these can be achieved simultaneously, selecting (and remaining committed to) an over-arching objective is not easy.
I’ve been in fitness a long time and I struggle with goal-setting daily. DAILY. One day I want to be an ultra-marathoner. The next day I want to add ten pounds of muscle. The day after I become engrossed in a writing project and think fitness belongs on cruise control for a while, doing only the bare minimum.
It’s enough to drive a man crazy.
I was talking to a friend this morning and had a revelation — so much of what drives and motivates us stems from our current position in life. What’s going on right here, right now, in our immediate environment.
I want to be an ultra-runner after every blissful long run induced by a stressful day. I want to build muscle after every intense lift induced by watching weightlifting beastmaster Chris Bumstead do his thing. I want to place fitness on autopilot after every supercharged writing session.
It’s hard to nail down a goal when my vision of fitness itself changes with the wind.
All that to say, I don’t have a solution for you. I don’t know the best way to determine your fitness goal. I haven’t figured it out for myself, so I don’t have any advice to share. Perhaps fitness “goals” in and of themselves are flawed ways of thinking, but that’s a topic for another time.
What I can tell you is when in doubt, do. Do something. Anything. Right now I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a framework. I’m navigating by feel, relying on many years of experience to guide me in the right direction. But I’m engaging in some sort of physical activity every day.
What do I feel like training today? How far do I feel like running? Does a yoga class sound good? These are the types of questions I’m asking. I’m allowing other areas of my life, namely my writing, to push me down life’s path at the moment. Fitness fills the gaps. And that’s ok.
This could all change tomorrow. Anything’s possible. I may wake up in the morning with a burning desire to join a winter basketball league.
But until then, until I have more clarity on where I want to go next, I’m ok with flying by the seat of my pants.