Think about the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Is it simply something people say who’ve never achieved a goal? When I’m flying from Baltimore to South Florida the destination is fairly important. In fact, if the plane doesn’t crash, the journey is mundane! Sure, the journey by which we as human beings came to have the ability and privilege to get on an airplane is an amazing tale but these days air travel is business as usual.
Merely moving in a direction can’t be more important than achieving a goal. Can it?
I have trained many wonderful clients who had the greatest of intentions and goals for their lives. Many believed their lives would change if they lost weight, toned up, or ran a 5K. This logic seems sound. Many would train multiple times a week full of vigor – ready to seize the day and crush their workouts! The results would start to come and then, as with everyone, the results would stop or slow down.
This question always came, “Why did I stop losing weight?” My answer is a series of questions meant to inspire some introspection, “What are you eating? How much are you sleeping? What’s your alcohol consumption? Do you cook or eat out? What exercise are you doing on your own? Are you following the plan I gave you?”
After looking at their actions they start bargaining. “Well if I want to go out for drinks with my friends can I just do some extra cardio?” Do extra cardio but, you’ll still be behind drinking 400 calories and only burning 200. Even if you burn the whole 400, you’re still just back at baseline. You’d undo some damage but it’s more effective to do extra cardio and not drink all night!
Now some people realize either their goal needs to change to fit their life or their life needs to change to fit their goal. This is a tough epiphany. It’s a paradox really. You wanted to get fit so your life would get better, when it’s really your life that needs to change for the better to get you fit.
You’re faced with a decision – do you go to the destination you chose or a different one? Choose the original goal and work towards establishing a different life based on your stated desires? Or change the goal because this journey is hard and the change overwhelming? Do you quit on what you believed you wanted?
Both answers are acceptable. It’s okay to say “It’s too hard, right now” or “I’m not ready.” Sometimes when you’re on a slow journey, you find a deeper conviction over time. I’ve had clients realize they said they wanted to lose weight because society said they should and they were actually happy exercising, getting stronger, or lowering their blood pressure. While other clients made such drastic changes as to cut negative influences out of their lives or go home and tell their spouse to either join them on the journey or stop sabotaging their progress.
Is it the journey or the destination? It’s both. You can’t have one without the other. I’ve flown up and down the East Coast countless times and I can’t remember 99% of the flights. But I once drove down from Baltimore to Delray Beach. I stopped in Savannah to see my friend, Jimmy, it was the last time I saw him before he died. We went out to dinner, I met some of his family, I met his dog, and I crashed on his couch for the night. I remember stopping to buy fireworks for the 4th of July. And I remember how happy I was when I got back to Delray. Looking back, the journey and destination were equally important. The journey doesn’t even exist without a destination. Yes, sometimes our goals change along the way or we decide to take the scenic route. Sometimes, we realize, once we get there, that we never really wanted to go there in the first place. Often, the original destination is a new starting point for the next.
Joshua Buchbinder, M.S., is the co-owner of B-Strong Athletics. He and his wife, Elyse, have three decades of combined coaching and training experience. Their goal is to utilize proven training methods, science based nutrition, and compassion to help every client achieve the results they want. He can be reached at email@example.com, 410-967-9699, or via their website BSA.life.