Committing to Your Why

Justin Lind

Coach

Kettlebells, CrossFit, Mobility & Recovery

Think back to “why” you joined a gym, began training, or committed to your fitness journey. What did you want from it? What changes did you want to see in yourself? What did you want to learn and accomplish?

 

These “what's” are your “why.”

 

 

Most of us have answers that range from:

 

  • The desire to feel stronger
  • I want to look leaner, more toned, ripped
  • Have more energy for my kids
  • Protect my longevity for myself and my family
  • Feel more strong and capable for my sport, hobbies, activities of choice

 

Very few athletes come in with quantifiable or measurable, big-picture goals. This is normal. While measurements can help track progress, and provide precious feedback of how things are moving, we do not think, dream, or plan in numbers.

 

No one says, “I’d like to make exactly $XX,000 per year.” We say things like, “I’d like to make enough to be comfortable, stable, financially free, etc.”

 

No one says, “I need to have a 3,000-square foot house with a chimney of at least 25 feet.” We dream of houses for how they will make us feel and if there is enough room for the whole family.

 

What Is Enough?

We dream in abstracts, ideas, and feelings, not absolutes. We thus need to measure our successes and satisfaction with “what is enough” and by comparing where we stand to our original aims. Nowhere is this more true than with fitness, and especially important in a community that I both love and love to critique: CrossFit.

 

Everyone starts with a fitness “why” and goals that stem from it. These can be as broad as “I want to feel better and look better” to as specific as “I want to do my first pull up.” However, I see so many people lose commitment to their why for sake of adopting the aims of their gym culture and community.

 

In fitness, we use specific results (weights, times, reps) to measure progress. As the old adage says, “you cannot change what you fail to measure.”

 

True, but the measurement isn’t the goal, it simply helps you determine if you are moving in the right direction.

 

 

So many athletes come in with a beautiful "why" and personal goals but easily lose sight of these and begin to emphasize the inherent values of the gym, coaches, and fellow athletes that they are surrounded by. While I love to see athletes in their 50s and 60s hyper-focused on their lifting, celebrating each incremental PR, yet I cannot help but question if this tunnel-visioned focus on Olympic lifting and CrossFit benchmarks fits their original reasoning.

 

Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Aims, dreams, and goals change. As athletes enter a gym setting, it is only natural to adopt new values as new influences enter their life.

 

Not all pursuits, fitness or otherwise, need to fit a big-picture goal. We should always feel free to explore, move, train, and play in any area we like, regardless of what our specific goals are.

 

We should continually re-examine our “why” to ensure that it is in-line with our values.

 

Staying Committed to Your “Why”

All of the above are both true and healthy. As we progress as humans and athletes we will constantly re-evaluate what aspects of life and fitness are most important. “Why’s” change, expect and celebrate this, but ensure that these changes remain internally determined.

 

Committing to Your Why - Fitness, strength and conditioning, goals, fat loss, mature athlete, fitness motivation, dedication

 

I’ve seen far too many athletes come to begin a fitness journey with reasons and goals all their own, only to look back after years of training to realize that they have not accomplished (or even committed to accomplishing) what they originally set out to do.

 

Your “why” is beautiful. It walked you through the door on your first day. It remains at your side, something to fall back on when inevitable struggles arise. It is a lens through which you make your decisions and evaluate your progress.

 

Today, instead of fussing over percentages, beating your buddy next to you at all costs, or pushing for a new PR, ask yourself why you are about to train. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? Do you hold similar values to when you began? And most importantly, are your actions driven by your “why?”

 

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