What If We Chose Constant Happiness?
I know the subject is overly talked about by now, but I can’t help but bring it up yet again. The constant flow of New Year’s Resolutions just keep catching my eye and I’ve realized a common trend. Most resolutions are revolving around health and fitness (nothing new), which I can definitely relate to. I think I’ve had some sort of resolution relating to at least one of the two the last few years. This year I didn’t exactly make a resolution to be more fit, but I had my mindset focused on it anyway.
Truth is, part of my mind is always focused on fitness and health and my body. I’m constantly thinking about all the trends and programs I could try to be more toned, stronger and healthier. In particular, I am constantly thinking about new ways to workout. I’ve realized that while I genuinely enjoy working out, it’s only to a certain point. If I start a 12 week fitness program, I can almost guarantee that I will stick with it for 4 weeks and then fizzle out and restart. It’s always for the same reason, I get bored and worn down.
I think my “failure” to achieve the fitness goals I desire can be narrowed down to two effects. My environment and my mindset.
I follow a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram… probably too many. It started about two years ago when I wanted inspiration, so I searched for #fitness and followed a ton of accounts. At first I think I was trying to motivate myself by seeing all the #transformations and all the people who found success in fitness programs, diets and pills. I thought if they could so it, then so could I…which is true, but eventually, this motivation turned into envy and obsession. Now, I’m not crazy obsessed where I verge on anything dangerously unhealthy… but it’s definitely not ideal. The environment I chose and thought would help set me up for success slowly became an environment that drove me to constantly compare myself. Instead of these fitness gurus and junkies lighting a fire under my butt, by comparing myself to them I lit a fire in my mind that said why don’t you look like that? Which brings me to the next reason I’ve failed at fitness resolutions and goals.
My desire to workout and be fit continuously has been because of other people. I’ve worked out because this is what’s perceived as normal and according to my environment, most people should look a certain way. I’ve worked out because a program told me to or a friend told me to or my favorite actress told me to. I worked out because everyone says the more you work out, then the healthier you’ll be and the healthier you are, the better you’ll feel. The better you feel, the happier you will be. I worked out because my environment said, if you workout then the result will be happiness. My mindset became focused on the end result: have a great body, have a healthy body and be happy.
Now for a lot of people, this works and they do achieve happiness when they reach that milestone. But I can’t help but think about the all the shit in between. There’s a quote somewhere saying that the journey is more important than the destination, or something along those lines. Well, a fitness journey can be seen the same way.
What if I chose constant happiness instead of reaching for a perceived happiness? What if I worked out only when I wanted to and because that workout actually made me feel good? What if I stopped feeling guilty for not working out? What if I chose to be happy all the time?
And yes, I know. There are people that genuinely love working out ALL the time… but that just isn’t me. I love doing yoga, going on walks, rock climbing, dancing and going to a fun fitness class here and there. But make me follow a program or go workout every single day and I’ll start dreading it.
Instead of looking at fitness as a way to achieve happiness, why can’t we look at fitness as a form of happiness itself? Fitness should be fun and it shouldn’t always feel like a workout or a form of punishment. Remember when we were kids and we would play tag during recess? Or when we would go on bike rides with our friends because it was fun? The point is, there was once a time when we voluntarily chose to run and bike because we enjoyed it; not because someone said it was the way to happiness. So why can’t it be like that once we're adults?
Fitness should be fun. It doesn’t have to be a workout and it absolutely shouldn’t be something you dread or hate. Why would you spend 90% of your life going to the gym, working out, hating it and then only being happy for 10% of your life, when you could go to the gym (or wherever) whenever you want and be happy for 100% of your life?
Just think about that.
p.s. I'm very aware that there are people who like working out every single day (which is wonderful!!!) or have found a happier and healthier self at the end of their fitness journey (which is also wonderful!!!). This is just some food for thought and completely my opinion. (: