For many years I’ve talked about finding your “reason why” for exercising. This has worked pretty well for many people. Yet, one’s reason why is still superficial. Sure, losing weight to attend your high school reunion is a goal to go after. It’s simply not sustainable.
Viktor E. Frankl described his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, of how mankind is stuck in neurotic, self-centered behavior. Yet, we’re also looking for a deeper meaning of why we are here. People think they are looking for meaning in what they do, except much of it is without substance. So, you want to have a meaningful relationship, right? That is another example of something that is surface oriented. There is no real meaning to wanting something meaningful in this case.
Regarding your workouts, the finding meaning is a key to help you to truly move forward in real fitness. Most people seem to start a fitness program because it’s something they have to do. While this may work in the very short term, it’s not sustainable in the long term. Even a “reason why” has no deep meaning.
Finding that deeper meaning is important to help drive you to lifelong fitness. Once discovered, then you can use that as a real reason why. Instead of some external goal, you’ll be training based on something intrinsic. Sure, getting a 6-pack may be cool and look good, but that’s not internally driven. There’s no real meaning. In fact, I remember one guy years go at a gym I trained at who went around showing off his abs. He was so into them and when someone didn’t have an “OOOO” or “AH” moment over them, it would drive him crazy! At times he would get mad and other times he’d cry. That was sure one neurotic person.
In order to find meaning in your workouts, you will need to challenge yourself through questioning. Ask yourself some of these questions (and any others you can think of)…
- Why do I workout?
- What is my purpose for getting fit?
- What is the meaning of health and fitness for me?
- Besides some superficial reason, what is my real reason why I want to get healthy and fit?
- Do I set myself as an example when I workout regularly?
- Can I be responsible for my well-being in a truly loving way?
Please add more questions.
You may even want to ask older people who are extremely unhealthy and at the end of their life that if they knew the outcome, would they have taken better care of themselves earlier? Sometimes we can gain an insight from the pain and suffering in others to help find meaning.
I wish you a wonderful journey into fitness and meaning.
Bob Choat, “Transformational Master Black Belt”
America’s #1 Mind-Body Transformation Expert and author of Mind Your Own Fitness