“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become
by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau
Last week I went to an adult/teen gymnastics class. No joke.
There was a seventeen-year old, two university students in their early twenties, and me: an old(ish) mom more than twice their age. Thank God I was able to dismiss my ego, because you know what? I had FUN. I played on all the trampolines and equipment like I was a kid, flipping into the foam pit, taking some risks, and feeling utterly alive and present the whole time.
Why was I there?
I needed to get out of a slump. Nothing serious. Life is going well; I have no major problems and plenty of blessings, which I’m grateful for. But in the absence of misfortune, I’ve started to feel apathetic.
I’d way rather be energized and inspired, like when I’m working toward a goal or acing a metaphorical life test. I want a shiny gold star for my win, even if I have to give it to myself.
Question is: What’s the win?
Since becoming a mom thirteen years ago, I’ve grappled with how can I feel “successful” as the homemaker who gave up her career. I often go in circles thinking about deep existential life goals. On the other hand, setting and meeting physical goals are simpler and immediately accessible. Physical goals are easily tailored to be anybody’s win.
It could be as simple as setting a number of pushups. Or running a certain distance or time. Maybe cycling, juggling, horseback riding, kickboxing, or swimming a number of laps. All that matters is that goals are specific, measurable and attainable.
When these goals are met, it feels awesome. Like “YAH, I did it!” Doing that gymnastics class last week earned me a gold star. And that winning energy triggered a positive chain reaction, fuelling me for days. All those rumours about exercise appear to be true: moving our bodies feels good. It uplifts and energizes, making us more optimistic and creative, which primes us for meeting and creating new goals and opportunities.
There is a ton of research that shows how regular exercise helps us feel better, have less stress, be more productive and focussed, and even think more creatively. If you need more convincing, read this article on mental and health benefits of exercise.
Going to that gymnastics class has inspired me to set new goals. Simply trying it empowered me almost as much as if I actually learned how to do a back walkover again.
This week, I hope you feel the power of setting a physical goal and moving your body. Go ahead and Push-Up Your Way to Power—or cartwheel, bounce, run, swim, bike, juggle, trapeze… 🙂
Purely Practical Fitness Tips
We can get stronger and more flexible with inexcusably little effort. Try two of my easy favourites: Calf raises while doing just about anything, and squats while brushing teeth.
Another good one? Earning treats. Whether it’s our morning coffee, dessert, or bowl of buttery popcorn, we can set a small physical-exercise payment before indulging. Do some crunches, lunges, tricep dips on the coffee table, or even a few simple stretches.
Join the Conversation
How do you get motivated to exercise?
Exercise helps me move out of apathy. What does exercise help you with?
What are your favourite tricks to sneak physical activity into your day?
This week my goal is to do a handstand against the wall every day, beating my time each day. What’s your physical goal?