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