Goals Aren’t Finish Lines

I’ve observed an interesting habit I seem to have developed – and by interesting I mean stupid. I have a FitBit (I’ve mentioned this once or twice, I believe…), and a daily step goal of 10,530. Why that odd number? Because it seems to be the minimum number of steps required to hit my walking goal of 5.3 miles. And there are days in which I fight to hit that goal. I’ll see myself at 10,000 steps (or, more likely, something odd like 9,983), and I’ll push myself to hit that goal. But then, as soon as I do, I’m done. Time to go sit down and read, or play video games.

The more I think about it, the more counterintuitive that seems. I’m trying to get healthy and lose weight, right? And I set a goal for the minimum amount of exercise I figure I should be doing to succeed. So why am I stopping just because I hit that minimum target? It would make sense if I was busy, and I was taking a break from something else I needed to do to meet that goal. But… why do I do it when I’ve got plenty of time? Why not go a little further?

That led me to do some thinking, and I think I’ve hit the answer. It’s easy to see that daily goal as the target. It’s easy to think “well, I’ve hit goal now. I’m done.” Because it’s easy to see a daily goal as something you [i]have[/i] to do, and as something to be gotten out of the way, rather than as something you’re doing because you want to. I mean, I sure want to. Nobody held a gun to my head and started forcing me to exercise, after all. Oh, sure, my doctor threatened me with high blood pressure and diabetes. But he didn’t force me to do anything about it. I chose to.

So, why should I treat the things I’m doing about my weight and my high blood pressure and my diabetes as a chore? They’re things I chose to do. And if I’ve got the time, and if the weather’s good and I’m enjoying myself, why not walk a little further? Splash in the puddles and stomp in the snow? Enjoy myself, doing the things I want to do?

I think I’ll start doing just that. When I have time, anyway.

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