The One Missing Ingredient from Your Fitness Goals

By Don

June 2, 2023


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Not Finishing our Fitness Goals


It’s a shared human experience to find ourselves in the middle of the year without remembering or committing to the goals we set at the beginning of the year’s journey. This is even more prevalent when it comes to fitness goals. 


According to one study, two-thirds of Americans set fitness goals at the beginning of the year, and the vast majority (73%) didn’t attain them by the end of the year. 


While I don’t have a silver bullet solution to this problem, I do think most fitness goal setting endeavors are missing a simple but essential ingredient. 


A mission. 


Mission: The Fuel for Your Fitness Goals


Even the most well-crafted goals are short-sighted. Using the popular S.M.A.R.T. framework for goal setting will require you to put an expiration date on your goal. 


But a mission operates from a different time horizon. It’s far longer and broader. If a fitness goal is the first stop on a long road trip, the fitness mission is the final destination. If a fitness goal is the first checkpoint in a half-marathon, the fitness mission is the finish line. 


Every time I have lacked a defined mission for my training, my motivation dipped, and my consistency tanked shortly thereafter. 


Defining your fitness mission is worth the effort. It’s worth spending the time reflecting on your own goals, your desired habits, and then crafting a plan to accomplish it. 


But this does not have to be complicated, scientific, or extravagant. There are just three questions you need to answer. 


Mission: The “What”?


The “what” is the destination you are trying to get to. What’s your desired outcome with fitness? What “end” do you have in mind? What result prompted you to enter the gym in the first place?


The “what” will shift over time, depending on your circumstances, experiences, and restraints. And, unlike goals, the “what” can be somewhat general and still be effective. 


Here are some ideas for the “what”: 

  • Build strength with kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, etc…
  • Lose weight and body fat.
  • Pursue longevity and health. 
  • Learn and perform movements that enhance functional fitness.


Mission: The “Why”?


Starting with the “what” is intentional. It’s far easier to understand and chart your motivations once you have your destination defined. 


As a Christian, I believe that our bodies were fashioned by the hands and will of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God (Genesis 1-2, Psalm 139). By design, our bodies were meant for movement. They were built to carry loads, endure distances, and maneuver through the demands of the day. 


This forms the most basic framework to understand motivation for exercise as a Christian: stewardship. We are stewards of this amazing gift. And like the choice of the stewards in Matthew 25, we can either turn a profit on what we are given by labor and use or bury it in the ground by neglect and idleness. 


So as a Christian, here are some basic frameworks for the “why”:

  • Stewarding your body for God’s glory.
  • Pursuing diligence and rejecting hasty results (Proverbs 21:5).
  • Learning sober-mindedness and self-control (Titus 2:6).
  • Use your strength for others, such as your kids, family, grandkids, etc…


Mission: The “How”?


Once you have your destination (“what”) and your motivation (“why”) in place, you need to decide how you plan to arrive. 


The “how” is simply that; what tools, techniques, and tactics will you use to get to where you want to be? 


Here are some ideas for the “how”:

  • Invest in home gym equipment. 
  • Buy a fitness membership at a brick-and-mortar gym.
  • Pursue recreational activities (hiking, biking, swimming, etc…)
  • Purchase 1/1 personal training sessions with a trainer. 
  • Attend group classes.


My Fitness Mission


My mission has shifted over the last several years. It’s had to adapt to a growing family, a demanding career, and other responsibilities. 


But with a wife, two young kids (a third on the way), a full-time job, and other responsibilities, here’s what my mission looks like these days: 


Make kettlebell swings and get-ups feel easy with a 48kg kettlebell  (“what”)  to build strength  (“why”)  using my home gym  (“how”)


That’s it. Nothing fancy, but plenty to keep me busy with. 


Whether your mission is to use barbells to build strength, bodyweight to pursue longevity, or running to improve heart health and overall fitness, it’s worth spending the time to define the mission and plan to follow to get there. This clarity will help you stay on course. 

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