Fitness goals are nice, but so often they can be distracting, benign, or, in worst cases, de-motivating. So often this can be tracked to how exercisers commonly keep score of their fitness – weight, distance, and time. Marking one’s success through amount of weight lost or weight lifted can be confidence building. Sharing stories of miles run or yards swum leaves friends in awe. Shrinking times on the minutes it takes to run around the block give hope for future racing glory. Yet oddly, none of these goals focus on the “doing.” They highlight the results of the doing. It is a very un-Zenlike approach to exercise.
The secret of health for both mind and body is … to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddhist quote
Step back from regularly praised numbers and take time to score the present. You can see, feel, and appreciate what gets done each day far better than the promises of future weight loss or strength gains. For example, if it is reasonable for you to fit four days of exercise into your life each week, monitor your batting average on this. Did you go 3 for 4 in your exercise at bats during the week? Perhaps your goal is becoming a regular, breakfast eater. You get seven opportunities to step up to the breakfast plate. This is something worth appreciating a bit more. Follow numbers such as these for a few months, they are the keys to living healthily in the moment - “wisely and earnestly.” Do the doing and wellness will follow.
Dr. Adam Naylor leads Telos Sport Psychology Consulting and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Boston University’s School of Education. He has a decade and a half of experiences working with professional through amateur athletes – of note: US Open competitors, NCAA champions, Olympians, Stanley Cup winners, and UFC martial artists. Beyond sports, over the past five years he has served as a corporate performance and wellness consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ahnaylor.