New Year, Same You, but Growing: Progress Over Perfection
January: It never fails. The gyms are full, and resolutions are on everyone’s mind. “This is my year,” you’ll often hear. “This time, I’m going to do it.” But by February, motivation is harder to come by, another sweat-sesh skipped, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten your goals.
What happened? The pursuit of perfection, instead of the journey of progress.
Setting tangible goals, such as lowering blood pressure or body fat percentage, running a certain distance, or being able to lift heavier weights, are important—but without being tied to higher goals, they’re difficult to achieve.
Higher goals help us break through negative thought patterns that tell us we can’t do it; they help orient us to what’s really important. Most importantly, they keep us motivated when the couch is calling. To explore your higher goals, ask yourself:
- How does my fitness practice benefit me outside of the time I’m exercising?
- How do I want to feel when exercising?
- What are my qualitative health goals (i.e., sleeping better, lower stress, feeling happier)?
- Outside of fitness, what else do I want to gain from my practice?
The last question is one worth taking your time in answering, and can even guide you into an unexpected direction. Are you looking to connect with others who share your goals so you can be a part of a community that will keep you accountable and engaged? Starting out in your living room by yourself probably won’t keep you moving in that case. Are you wanting more confidence? Seek out a community that celebrates you for you, throughout whatever stage of your journey you’re in. Taking yourself too seriously? Be a part of a community that’s not afraid to be silly sometimes!
Remember that your goals belong specifically to you for a reason—they’re an indicator of a direction in which you want to grow. By connecting your goals to a greater personal journey, you create flexibility to discover other paths that may not have been so obvious when keeping your eyes on one target. You leave yourself open for meaningful achievements, and you connect to a deeper sense of gratitude for your effort.
So no more “new year, new you.” You—the person you already are—have everything you need to progress in your goals. By articulating from where in your heart they originate, you’ll always have a compass on your journey.