A health and fitness journey is a lifetime. Often, we set out with a goal, pick an end date, and it’s full steam ahead from there. But, in reality, our fitness journey never really ends. We may achieve some goals but others are right around the corner to take their place.
This is why I’m so passionate about making small, sustainable changes that you can see yourself doing forever. Not for a week, a month, or a few…but forever. THIS is how a change will stick for the long term.
But forever is a long time. Attaching ourselves to only the outcome at the end is going to leave us spinning our wheels and searching for motivation along the way. On the other hand, if we fall in love with the process and embrace the journey, we can cultivate a growth mindset and simply fall in love with the idea of getting better.
How can we do this? Here are 6 ways we can learn to love the process, regardless of the goal we’re pursuing.
Pick goals you want to achieve.
First and foremost, why would you ever chase a goal that you don’t want to achieve? That just sets you up for failure from the start. If you don’t like running, chances are signing up for a marathon isn’t in your future.
Think about what you would like to accomplish – Do you love getting stronger? Pick a lift and work toward a PR. Do you want to compete in a strength or endurance event? Find one in your area or that you’re willing to travel to and sign up.
The most important thing is to pick something YOU want to do. Don’t pick a goal just because your friend, coworker, or family member is pursuing it. Find what you want and go after it 100%.
Accept that you’re not going to be great from the start.
As humans, we love to succeed. Often, expecting perfection from ourselves right from the very beginning. I’m one of these people. I expect perfection from myself and can get frustrated when I don’t achieve that.
When starting a journey to a new health and fitness goal, we have to ditch this idea of perfection. We aren’t going to be great from the start. Part of the journey is the journey to get better. To learn new skills, to embrace the imperfection, and cultivate a practice of constant improvement.
Embrace the mini-wins and set small goals.
Of course, we need a big, long-term goal. Those adventures, races, and events, keep the wheels moving forward. But often, as they can be so far off, setting small goals and embracing the mini wins along the way can keep the motivation strong and renew our dedication to the training program.
These small goals can be any number of things. Sometimes, we can schedule a shorter distance race as a training run before a longer distance event. Setting weeks to PR your lifts and test prior to an event can give you feedback to how your program is working and let you know if there needs to be an adjustment.
But these goals can also be process goals. Let’s say you have a fat loss goal. Some small, process-oriented goals, may include focusing on sleep quality, drinking enough water, getting in X number of training sessions per week, or making sure we’re watching our portion sizes.
Regardless of your long-term goal, make sure you have some small goals to accomplish and celebrate those mini wins along the way!
Having a community of like-minded people to support you is crucial. But at the same time, comparing progress to others in that group can be detrimental to your pursuit of your fitness goal.
No two people are exactly the same and they won’t have the same trajectory of their fitness journey. Heck, two people could follow THE SAME plan, eat THE SAME amount of food, and the results could completely vary.
As you embark on your fitness journey, make sure that the focus is on you, your actions and habits, and your progress. Try to ignore others and their progress, even if they’re on the same path as you.
Focus on daily actions over outcomes.
I’ve hinted at this one with the small goals and mini-wins, but focusing on small habits can drastically improve your attitude and success in your journey. Pick small, daily actions that, when repeated, create massive change. It’s not about overhauling everything and flipping your existing life on it’s head.
Like I talked about in my post a couple weeks ago, it’s about the small, daily actions that create the massive change over time.
Shift your focus to what you can control.
This is a continuation of the previous one – but focus on what you CAN control throughout your journey. There’s bound to be things out of your control: cancelled races and events (shoutout 2020…), other people competing against you, etc.
But we can always control three things: attitude, actions, and mindset.
Regardless of what happens, we can control our attitude and how we react. We can control our daily actions, habits, and response to things that happen around us. Finally, we can control our overall mindset and how we approach our journey.
All of these will be situationally dependent, but it’s universal that if nothing else, we’re able to control those three things.
Do you already love the process of your fitness journey? Are there some of these aspects that you could improve? Take time to identify them and figure out where you can improve and learn to love the process, instead of staying focused on only the outcome.