What’s Your Goal?

This is one of the first questions that I ask new clients in our intake meetings. It is interesting to note that some people have a pretty clear idea of why they want to begin an exercise program. Some are preparing for an upcoming trip and want to be able to participate fully in all the planned activities; others sense that their mobility has decreased (it is harder to walk or go up stairs) and they want to do something about it; grandparents wanting to keep up with their grandchildren is also a big reason. At the same time, there are those who have given little thought to the question. They may have received personal training sessions as a gift, been “forced” into it by their children, or read that it might be a good thing to do.

I do not just ask this question at our intake meeting, but also at regular intervals. As clients progress, it is important to understand that their needs and goals may shift. When I first began working with a personal trainer in my late 30s, I did it because I wanted to look better. Later on, I was more motivated to be able to achieve challenges I had set for myself like finishing a 5K or a half-marathon. As I am about to turn 60, my goal is to continue to do the things that I enjoy most without worrying that I will not be physically capable of handling it. I expect that in five or ten years my goals will shift again.

Having goals is important. Without a “destination,” there is no way to chart a path. To extend the metaphor, sometimes just getting on the road and driving without a plan is enjoyable–but it is not the best strategy if you have to get to Omaha by Friday! The same is true with fitness and, more generally, with our lives. Goals help keep us motivated. They can keep us on track. They can also be unhealthy if they are unrealistic; we need to be willing to adjust as warranted.

I love to travel. My wife and I, along with my twin sister and her husband, just completed a two-week vacation in South America. It included horseback riding in the Andes of Argentina, walking and climbing stairs along the Iguassu Falls in Brazil, and hiking in the Galapagos Islands. What an amazing adventure, and what a great feeling to feel up to it (even in Quito where the air is thin). It was reasurring as well to learn that I was not the oldest one in some of our group activities. I was inspired to see that taking care of one’s health and fitness can help to ensure that we are able to do what we love better and longer.

We usually think of New Year’s as a time for goal-setting. The truth is that we can do it any time of the year. Why wait? Set some goals, get a plan, and then put it into action!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s