Fitness is a lifelong process. It can be so easy to get caught up in fad diets or the latest popular workout, but what happens when you get bored? Or, what happens when you reach your goal? Do you just stop working out and eating veggies? I think we all know that long-term fitness doesn’t work that way. So how do people who consistently train year after year stay committed to a healthy lifestyle when it is so much easier to sit on the couch and eat Taco Bell?
I used to hate working out and eating well. It wasn’t until college that I really worked on changing my mindset and relationship with my body so, up until that point, I was a hot mess. I used workouts to punish myself for eating dessert, starved myself by counting calories and eating wayyyy too little food, and always feeling like I needed to lose more (and more and more) weight to be beautiful or worthwhile. It sucked. And I always saw exercise and food as a means to an end so I never found any enjoyment in anything that I was doing. The thought of “having” to workout and eat well for the rest of my life felt daunting, boring, and just plain miserable. I lost weight, but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t healthy, and I was never going to be able to enjoy anything in life without a shift in my attitude.
That shift came in college when I first got into weightlifting. Not to say everybody has to lift weights to be healthy (although some form of resistance training is a good idea!), but for me, that was the type of exercise that I started to look forward to doing. For you that might be running, kickball, Zumba, yoga….the list really is endless. After finding a way to exercise that I actually liked, I started to think more long term. It wasn’t some big moment of clarity or anything. I was also working through my anxiety and depression by going to therapy, setting tough boundaries in my life, and surrounding myself with people who supported me. There was a lot of work going on outside of the gym to get to a point in the gym that felt confident and comfortable, but once I got there, man did it feel good.
Back to the point, part of that mental work included journaling and, as someone who has always been obsessed with planners and organization, I started getting into the idea of developing a mission statement for my life. My journal entries reflected on where I want to be in life, how I want to get there, who I want to be 10, 20, 50 years from now. I let myself feel a little silly by writing it all out and pulled from those entries to create something that I can look at and be grounded by on the days that are mentally and physically challenging.
So what even is a mission statement?
A mission statement is usually a short paragraph that tells you why a company or group exists. It tells you their goals, values, and what they hope to accomplish in the future.
Now, this is usually something that you will see a business have, but it is definitely something that applies to an individual as well. To come up with your own personal fitness mission statement, here are some questions to think about:
- Where do I want to be with my wellness?
- What drives me?
- What do I value when it comes to health and wellness?
- How does my fitness affect my overall life and well-being?
- What does progress look like?
- What do I like?
- What do I dislike?
- What does my dream “healthy lifestyle” look like?
You don’t have to figure all this out at once, but taking some time to figure out what you really want your wellness to look like throughout your life is going help you when you don’t want to go to they gym or cook yourself a healthy meal in the short term. Take some notes, and once you feel like you’ve got a clear picture of what your goals are, what is driving you, and who you want to be, craft a few sentences that make sense of it all.
It might end up looking something like: “I am a family oriented person. I want to be healthy so I can be there for my family and be a good example to my kids. I enjoy gardening and yoga and my goal is to grow vegetables to keep healthy food around the house. As a fit person, I prioritize my health with fresh foods, plenty of water, and movement every day.”
Just writing out your mission, regardless of whether or not you feel like a fit person yet, brings clarity to why you are even bothering to exercise or cut out processed foods. Having that “why” written out and placed somewhere you can see it will center you and help you push through on the days that it doesn’t feel like you are making the progress you want.
What do you think of having a written fitness mission statement? Does it resonate or feel a little weird? Is it something you’ve ever thought about trying out? I’d love to hear back on your experiences with this exercise so keep me posted on how it goes!