I’ve written much on the concept of fitness; how it is a man-made realm in which people have created artificial goals and perform artificial work for the sake of cosmetic and other ego-driven outcomes. The biggest mistake in all of this, including the setting of fitness goals, is that you think that health comes along as a part of the deal. It does not.
The fact that you have a fitness goal is a warning sign all by itself; an indicator that fitness is indeed something entirely different from health. It begins when personal trainer candidates will ask you about your “fitness goals” in the first minute of the meeting. Personal trainers are coached to ask you this because it makes their job so much easier. By even responding to the question you are revealing to the trainer that you’re willing to settle for something less than health.
Most of us are living our lives on this planet for other people, and we’re not even aware of it. Look at what drives so many of our decisions: for most people, decisions, including health-related ones, are based on how it will make them look in the eyes of others. Since fitness is a business, the easiest way to extract money from your wallet is to play to your ego. You will naturally offer up a goal that will be the easiest way to some recognition, rather than a hard way to something valuable to your life.
The hardest thing that a personal trainer could do for you is to create exceptional levels of health and vitality, yet no one will appreciate a high quality of life—your life—more than you. Your quality of life will be largely invisible to others unless they really look at how you live. The goal of health is almost never stated as anyone’s personal goal. The reality is that health is never a goal and cannot be, because it is not an absolute. Health is a relative concept that is always in some stage of development.
So, instead of health, here is the list of common fitness goals that people have:
- weight loss
- muscle toning
- bulking up
- sport-specific performance
You may have a few others to toss into the mix, but this is what 90% of those that have a fitness goal will say in the presence of a personal trainer. It might have escaped your notice that they all have one thing in common: they all are qualities that are highly visible to others. In other words, what these people are really after is recognition in the eyes of others, not health.
Now, imagine having fitness goals that no one else would ever know about. Here’s a sample list of those:
- being able to run up 4 flights of stairs without getting winded
- to be able to change orientation comfortably
- having more energy throughout my day
- being able to participate in any physical activity without fear of injury
- insuring a long and vital life
This last list contains all of the qualities that improve a person’s experience of their life on a daily—if not hourly—basis, and gives them the best shot at living a long and active life. Why are these goals practically never stated as fitness goals. Because these items also have something else in common: they are things that would not be obvious to others if you achieved them. In other words, no bragging rights or other ego boost for accomplishing anything on this list.
So, this is where we’re at as a society: if you can’t get recognition for it, what’s the point? Easy to see why our health takes such a back seat to the ego-driven desire for acknowledgement.
This is what you need to know: the act of creating authentic health will never get you the recognition that you crave. Either accept that and do it anyway, or seek the recognition instead, which will always come at the expense of great health.
What is news to most people is that health is not included in the search for recognition. And, that health is still an option that is available to them. The only extra cost is a willingness to abandon the search for praise and adoration from others. Is that a choice you can make?
The decision is now yours. But at least now you know you have a choice.