The fitness world is very focused on targets, goals, KPIs and Stats Stats Stats. It is heavily encouraged in most fitness environments to be setting yourself goals and working to reach them. I believe it is because it gives people structure and some form of motivation to keep coming back. They are seen as essential for anyone wanting to build and maintain fitness.

I don’t believe that they are essential. In fact, I don’t believe they’re necessary at all.

Some people may require that mentality in order to motivate themselves to come back. But I feel very strongly that for me personally (and I’m sure many others in this world) that they bring with them a negative form of motivation. I do not thrive on competition with others or even myself. It causes me stress and takes away the enjoyment that I get out of exercise. It’s the reason that I stopped doing organised events. Training for events made me very unhappy and bought a lot of guilt, shame and stress to my exercise. I would feel guilty if I missed a training session, I would feel stressed that I wasn’t doing enough, and when I completed a race, if I didn’t hit the target time I was after, even by a minute, I would feel like a failed somehow. Which is ludicrous.

I’m not saying that this will be true for everyone. But I do think that for certain people, this form of motivation can be detrimental to their long term relationship with fitness. Which is why I will always encourage people to CHALLENGE THE WHY.

Why are you aiming for this goal? Why are you aiming to lift this amount of weight? What will it bring you?

If you can justify why you base your fitness around goal setting and progress tracking, then that’s wonderful. But if you’re doing it simply because that’s the environment that you’ve found yourself in, I encourage you to take a moment to question WHY you are focusing your fitness in this way and whether or not it is truly beneficial and sustainable.

Do we need little wins to feel like we’re achieving something?

Isn’t the win just being capable of activity?

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