Workout Wednesday Volume 18: It’s Ok Not to Have a Fitness Goal (and why balance is overrated)

I love goals. It might even be fair to say I’m a goal junkie. Goals are what get me up before dawn (or before the kids get up, which is roughly the same stupidly early hour). Goals are what get me to lace up my sneakers when I’m not in the mood to work out and my to-do list is mile long with nary a cross-out in sight. When I achieve a goal, I am happy. For about two hours. Then I start jonesing for a new goal.

Now, with a whole new year spread out before me, and with it calendar full of blank weekend mornings, I admit: I have no fitness goals this year. And I’m trying my best to be ok with that.

The thing is, I have big goals this year that don’t pertain to fitness. I still love all things fitness and running, and I will still blog about these topics here. I might even do a couple of the races I’ve already signed up for, if my hip cooperates. But if I’m ever going to get my book done, I will have to trade some workout time for writing time.

I know I need to break a sweat a minimum of four to five times to maintain my sanity and general well-being. And I know I will do that.  I don’t consider it my “goal” to do that, as this bare minimum is far less than I’ve typically done for the past ten plus years. It’s a part of my basic self-care.  Exercise is something I enjoy, something that takes a certain degree of motivation, but it’s also a habit. My fitness goals, on the other hand, tend to be just within (or maybe out of) my reach. They are what motivate me to do more, to go harder, to follow a specific plan.

According to Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, the popular idea that balance being the key to a healthy life- may not be accurate. Striving for balance may keep us from reaching our big goals. In order to achieve something big, you have to let things get out of balance and accept some level of chaos until you’ve met your goal.

I’ve already experienced this truism in my life… When I was training for my first ironman, my dishes were always piling up, my laundry was never done, and it was relatively easy to devote my focus to my all-consuming hobby because I was single and no one needed me. When I had Sweet Pea, I had to stop inviting my friends over for our weekly craft night.  I still wanted to see my friends, I still wanted to craft (or share some wine), but I just didn’t have it in me to switch from “exhausted mom” to “fun friend” between the precious hours of 7-9pm, when what I really needed were a couple of hours of quiet time for myself.

There’s just no way that every part of my life that is important to me can occupy the #1 priority slot at all times. So for now, fitness is going to slip down a notch while writing creeps up. Writing now gets its own task list, including weekly goals, monthly goals, and long-term goals. I recently posted about setting acheivable fitness goals. The truth is, a goal is a goal. You can substitute “writing” or “spelunking” or “coding” for “fitness” but the method is the same.

What are your goals (fitness related or otherwise) for 2015? When have you let go of balance to accomplish
 something big?

WW_18 It's Ok not to have fitness goals

8 thoughts on “Workout Wednesday Volume 18: It’s Ok Not to Have a Fitness Goal (and why balance is overrated)

    • Pam says:

      Good for you!! Your spiralizer should help with your 2015 goal:) A low-sugar treat I just discovered- you mix half coconut oil and half almond butter with some cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and freeze it in a log (wrapped in parchment paper), then slice it into pieces and store it in the freezer. It’s low in sugar but it does satisfy my sweet tooth.

  1. Cassie says:

    I love everything about this post, Pam! I have a lot of things I want to do in this year, but I have been trying to figure out how to balance it all. I come to realize it’s going to have to be where I focus on certain things for a period of time and allow that thing to become priority. I also realized consistency is going to be vital. I’m really good at working extremely hard for several days or weeks then being mentally exhausted and not doing anything. So just playing a little more level.

    Have you heard of the passion planner?! Sounds like you would really like it. I should be getting mine in another week or two. But you start with your big plan and break them down into month and week tasks. It’s like a planner, journal and more all in one. I’m so excited to get mine. But they have it in a free PDF you can get too. You should check it out!

    • Pam says:

      Thanks, Cassie!!! One of my plans for staying consistent is scheduling my writing and using an Excel sheet to keep track of what I plan to do each time I sit down, so I don’t waste time wondering exactly which thing to work on. I noticed your post about the Passion Planner and I was intrigued. I will have to check out that free PDF!!

  2. Jessica @ Absurd, She Wrote says:

    I identify with your need to exercise as a form of self-care. I fielded a lot of comments when pregnant for continuing to run, jump, lift weights up to the day I delivered. But I wasn’t reckless – my body let me know when something was off the table for the time. And when I resumed exercise a couple of weeks postpartum, again, it was a way of reclaiming some essential part of “me” that felt necessary for my sanity and mood.

    That said, I had to give up balance in order to first conceive. I only became pregnant once I stopped all intense exercise, stuck to walking, and ate more. But it was totally, completely worth it. Not only because I have my daughter here now, but also because it helped me break away from the rigidity of eating and exercise that were controlling me, instead of the other way around.

    • Pam says:

      Yay for you getting the control off of food and exercise and back to you! There is so much giving up control that happens when you become a parent… That is another reason I love exercise- it is my time and my thing that I control, despite the fact that during the rest of my day, I don’t get to control too much! Thanks for visiting my blog:)

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