The Happiness of Pursuit
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photo by Camdiluv

I am still trying to process, implement and share all the things I learned at South by Southwest in March. My social media Sabbath is still a work in progress. It’s easy when I’m home but very difficult when I’m on the road. Adding a game level to my programs is a good idea but I’m not sure I’m creative enough to do it.  As I go back and review my notes, keeping tabs on all the changes I wanted to make both big and small, I keep stopping at one phrase I underlined in my notes from Jane McGonigal’s talk:

It’s not about the pursuit of happiness; it’s the happiness of pursuit.

This is what a fitness journey should be – a journey to be enjoyed not one undertaken with only the final destination in mind.

Too many people starting working out and “dieting” only to get to an end.  For them, it’s about reaching a number on the scale or fitting into a bikini for vacation. Each meal is fraught with anxiety and a bit of deprivation. Workouts are something to get through, a necessary evil to get the body they want. The end is near, goal is reached and then it’s time to go back to normal.

But normal is what gets us into trouble in the first place. So the pounds come back with a feeling of failure and the desire to diet again.

Instead, getting healthy and fit should be a process you enjoy.  It should be about finding the activities you like to do. Don’t force yourself to run if you hate running. Don’t sign up for a 5 am boot camp if you’re not a morning person. Exercise shouldn’t be punishment. You should feel good after a workout, with energy and pride in what you’ve just accomplished. If you do, you’re more likely to stick with it and make it a real habit.

Food is fuel, but it can taste good too. Fresh foods, not diet foods, can make your taste buds sing while giving your body what it needs to feel good and look good.  It’s not about starving, it’s about replenishing.  Severe calorie restriction and cutting off the foods you love isn’t livable. Instead let those foods you love regain their status as a true treat, which you enjoy without guilt every so often, not every day.

Real fitness has no finish line. Stop and look at your path. Are you just focused on the finish or are you finding joy in each step you take?

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