Are you currently in a place where you are looking to make some changes in your life as it relates to your health?
I hope the answer is yes, and I am not just talking to those of you who haven’t hit the gym in a few years or need to stop eating fast food every day. I essentially mean this for everybody, even if you are already somebody who feels like you are currently taking very good care of your health and fitness. I make this point because one’s relationship to their health and well-being is best seen as a journey they will be on throughout their life.
This, of course, is contrary to what a lot of the traditional fitness industry has been selling to us for quite some time now. Traditionally it has been about a destination (i.e losing x amount of pounds, fitting into a certain piece of clothing, looking a certain way and having a six pack, being in good enough shape for your trip to the Caribbean coming up). The destination is achieved and then all is good, right? The thing is this is not the way our minds tend to work. Let’s say you did end up losing the number of pounds you wanted and you did so in 6 months which was the goal you had set up for yourself. Let’s say that you are much happier with the way you look as you see yourself in the mirror. These are good things for sure.
The only question is, do you have anything which is pushing you forward after you have arrived at your destination?
Is better health and wellness your ultimate goal? Or is this simply about looking a certain way?
I learned early on in my journey with fitness that goals centered around looks or getting to a certain destination do not sustain themselves particularly well. I was young, I was a skinny guy with not a lot of confidence and felt I had something to prove to the world. Therefore I had tunnel vision when it came to my fitness. I wanted to get somewhere and I wanted to be perceived differently, therefore I ignored what my body was telling me while I was doing the same weight-lifting exercises, I ended up over-training and eventually burning out. This is just one example, maybe you want to lose weight and are looking at short term and more extreme dieting plans which leave you feeling deprived and unsustained, or you are doing exercises which are not good for your joints because you saw it in a workout video with an attractive instructor.
Now, I do not want to make it sound like there is anything wrong with looking better, and feeling better related to how you look. What I am saying is this ultimately will not sustain you along living a healthier lifestyle. I know for myself, I could feel very discouraged and down on myself when I saw a guy who looked more muscular and fit than myself. It was not until I switched my mindset to more of a sustained journey in health that I really started to see changes in my health once and for all.
It was no longer about getting somewhere, but about making health a priority because I knew this would make me feel better and make me a better and more sufficient human being. I began focusing on all areas of health (flexibility, strength, cardio endurance, nutrition) which actually made the whole process much more enjoyable. I adopted the mindset of my health being a journey I would be on for the rest of my life.
On a journey, there is room for mistakes and an acknowledgment that there will be road blocks which come up. You do not need to be so quick to attack yourself if you get something wrong, or if you slip up a bit. You know you could always be better tomorrow, and you look at the future with optimism of what is to come and who you will become. When you are on a health journey, the sky is the limit and you will learn new things about yourself as you consistently improve each day you put your focus and intention on better health.