This is the time of year where we are encouraged to set our goals for the new year. As soon as we start to take about goals we enter the territory of the motivational coach, which can be a very strange land.
Upon crossing the border you will be vetted, tested on your willingness to ‘be all that you can be’ ‘achieve your potential’. You will meet a variety of pumped up hyper positive beasties, some of whom will try and drag you along with them, others will try and push you ahead of them, and some of whom will be very happy to leave you choking in their dust trail as they race off to a peak experience (which you can see on social media).
Perhaps you can tell from my tone that I am not entirely enamoured of that world. Now I agree that many or most of us can ‘achieve’ more, that we might feel happier, more fulfilled, less regretful if we did.
What I dislike are the unspoken, unwritten assumptions and implications that are built into the motivational culture.
It is a culture where certain kinds of achievements are valued, and others aren’t. Wealth, world firsts and records, fame and praise are valued. Upbeat essential and positivity are valued.
This is not a culture that would encourage a person to be a virtuoso street sweeper. But until we live in a world where streets do not need cleaning by human beings it’s a job that we can be very grateful for, that deserves respect.
Anyway big chunks of motivational culture have made their way into the ‘fitness industry’ (yes I still hate that term). Sometimes this is good, because many of us could benefit from more movement, and pretty much anything that helps get us moving is good.
However the ‘fitness industry’ and ‘movement culture’ it’s man-bunned child have ideals they want you to strive for so that they can sell you their means of achieving them.
I’ve been around this world for a while, so I’ve seen trends in goals and methods come and go. I’ve been sucked in as well, and have not only been a dispassionate or enlightened observer.
All this is just been a preamble to my suggestions for new year fitness goal setting which I can summarise as
Aim for whatever the fuck you want
pick something you enjoy on doing a good day, and you’re willing to deal with the unpleasantness of on a not so good day unless you like self flagellation
If you’re not sure how to achieve your goal and you can’t be arsed to research it for yourself then ask or hire someone who knows.
If you find a group of people you want to spend time with who are into the same thing, all the better.
Skills and body changes take a while so be patient. If you can create a routine to follow and build on it’ll be easier.
You might find that the process to get what you want is worth the effort along with any benefits the goal gives you, or you might not.