Why The Most Common Goal Being Set Is A Cause For Failure

 
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It’s time to get specific, very specific. One of the most common things I hear as a fitness professional is “I want to get toned and fit.” That’s a good goal, at least the desire for improvements is there, but that’s also one of the most generic and un-motivating goals anyone can set for themselves. Honestly, it’s a ‘goal’ that sets most for failure. Here’s why:

Reason #1 - The desire lacks a specific goal for individuals to work towards.

Here’s the reality, in the world of health and fitness, there’s no real limit to how healthy or fit a person can get. The longer I work on my health and fitness, the more results, the more benefits, and the more gains I reap. Health and fitness is a spectrum versus a singular achievable destination. I know exactly how long my flight from Singapore to Bali was, but with health and fitness, there’s no real measurement to the distance because there’s always room to do better and there’s always room to improve. I can continue to improve my flexibility, improve my strength, increase my endurance, increase my muscle mass, reduce my fat percentage, etc. because the capacity for improvements is endless.

Reason #2 - The desire is undefinable.

Everyone has a different preference and definition to what “toned and fit” is because it lacks universal identification. Toned and fit is a description, not an identification. Body type preference also comes into play here, what I find toned and fit may be too much or too little for some people’s expectations. For example, some people may want larger bulkier muscles, while others want leaner muscles, or others want bigger butts while others prefer to focus on their abs. There’s a multitude of desires when it comes to what each person wants, so if I can’t even define what I want, how can I expect to achieve it?

Reason #3 - Everyone’s body is different.

Everyone has a different idea of what the ideal body is but the reality is, each person is born with different body types, with different genetics, with different metabolisms, and therefore with different capacities. Before identifying what is my ideal body type, there must be an understanding of the reality of each individual’s body. Each body is beautiful in their own way, but genetics and physiology is something we’re born with, therefore the limitations of this reality are also inherent.

SOLUTIONS:

Solution #1 - Identify the desires and intentions.

Everyone has different desires as to what the ideal body is. Identifying what this means within the context of one’s own body and what this means for each person is key to the success of each individual’s health and fitness journey. This is Why Identifying What Drives You Is Important. There also first need to a be a clear understanding of the why. Why do I want to embark on this health and fitness journey? Understanding our desires and motivations is an important first step because Intention Matters. What I am driven by is different to the person next to me, so I should expect that how I motivate myself is different too. Identifying these critical components will help to identify the goal.

Solution #2 - Come up with specific goals.

Once I understand the why, I am then able to identify specific desires and motivations to help me identify specific goals. “I want to be able to do 10 push-ups because I want a stronger upper body,” “I want to be able to do a 20kg (approx. 44 lbs) deadlift because I want more shape to my butt,” “I want to be able to jog from my house to the gardens without stopping because I want to work on my endurance,” the possibilities are endless, but the main thing to remember here is to come up with one or a few specific goals to keep you motivated and start with the why! Of course, once you’ve achieved the goal, cross it out and set a new one!

Solution #3 - Accept that each body is different.

Accepting and working with what I have to achieve my healthiest and fittest self is the first step to a successful wellness journey, here’s A Beginner’s Guide To Working Out, which explains several criteria to get right in order to aid a successful fitness journey. These criteria listed are what I believe are key components to a successful health and fitness journey. The main point to draw on is on accepting and celebrating the body we have been blessed with and to work on optimizing its potential.

Everyone has the capacity to improve their health and fitness, but there are too many fad diets and fad workouts out there which mislead people’s expectation of themselves. Especially with the rampant existence of media nowadays, there’s a race towards perfection and unrealistic aesthetic reaches.

The shift that’s needed in the health and fitness world is an acceptance towards all different body types. Not everyone is tall and lanky, but that is the projected ideal for females in this world. Not everyone is big boned and chiseled, but that is the projected ideal for males in this world. What’s more important is to keep moving forward towards a healthier and fitter self, because what’s more liberating is the freedom to love one’s only body and to treat it like the holy temple it really is. Meaning to do whatever it takes to help this body I have to achieve its best potential.

Each body is unique, each body is different, each body has its own capacities and therefore its own potential so why not work towards its personal best, rather than drowning my mind and my body with unrealistic and unachievable expectations of what society and media have deemed as worthy?

 

Remembering The Authentic Self

 
East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

An important realization came about when I was reading a chapter from the The Artisanal Soul by Erwin Mcmanus. The message I took away from the book is tremendously logical, completely obvious (if paid attention to), but mysteriously out of mind. The book goes in depth about why finding your authentic self before being able to explore the creative genius waiting to be unleashed inside of you is crucial to our purpose as humans in this world. The key assumptions delivered in the book (and which I want to focus on) is to never doubt that there is creativity in all of us; a creative expression waiting to be materialized into existence.

It is not just about finding inspiration from the world, rather it is about finding yourself in the world and drawing from who you are and your unique intuition to create for the world. This is a simple, but significant shift in the habits my mind defaults to.

With the access and abundance to information I have access to now, the ways of the world tends to overcrowd my own voice. The reality of being swayed by everyone else and how society moves is much more apparent in today’s world than in previous generations. If I live in the modern world, it is hard to silence the over-stimulation and escape the bombardment of information on how to just be - what’s cool, what’s in, what’s not, and the list continues to what seems like infinity. Where it’s easy to fault is to think I am already living a life of my authentic self.

What I need to remind myself is not to fall into the trap of thinking I am already and always living as my authentic self. Rather it is more important to be realistic about the weight of influence society, culture, circumstances and others have and to remind myself to take time to take a step back to reflect who I really am. What are my qualities and characteristics which are truest to who I actually am versus those which are only a reaction or a reflection to the world around me.

To lose myself amongst the rambles of this world is easy. To maintain my most authentic self is the challenge at hand. What is important is to know who I am if everything else around me doesn't matter or does not exist. It is important to consider how I will be if I am free from society's verdicts, free from the demands of others, free from conformity, and to ask myself who is my authentic self?