How Do You Want To Feel: Goal Setting, Part 3

The hour was 0600.  The sky was dark.  The air was cold.  But our room was full.  I asked my group fitness class to tell me, in one word, why they move.  Hardly anyone followed instructions, writing many words.  But as long as they did as many squats as I directed, that was fine by me.  Interestingly, hardly any of their reasons for moving involved fitness goals:

  • “Gives me more energy.”
  • “Be alive and healthy for my spouse (or your future spouse and family).”
  • “Power.”
  • “Career.”
  • “Confidence.”
  • “To celebrate my aliveness.”
  • “It feels so good; you can do anything for 60 minutes!”
  • “Energy.”
  • “Having kids in the future.”
  • “To look and feel healthy.”
  • “To continue to exist.”


Motivations for training can be tangible, such as losing fat and gaining muscle, or intangible, such as a feeling.  The benefits of exercise are many, but  it’s your own personal reason that actually gets you off the couch.  The challenge with the above reasons is that they are difficult to measure, and thus, difficult to manage.  But they are still important.

It is best to start with the goal setting discussed in Part 1 and Part 2, but to allow yourself some flexibility.  Understand that life doesn’t move in a linear fashion.  Point A does not always lead to Point B.  It may lead to C or D.  Fitness is not just about a number on the scale or a size in the dressing room.  It is not just about adding muscle and losing fat.  It is about living better.

I asked my class to describe how they felt after class, just as the sun was breaking the horizon:

  • “Awake and alive, like I’ve accomplished something.”
  • “Energized.”
  • “Inspired.”
  • “Refreshed.”
  • “Ready for the day.”
  • “All of the above, plus I have had a very positive start to my day.”

There is no right or wrong reason for embracing fitness.  Find the reason that inspires you to train, to make the choice to roll over in the morning, to put your feet on the floor, and to move with a purpose.

In fitness, business, and life, you must learn the rules of the game and then play them better than everyone else.  For a brief moment, throw your SMART goals out the window and think about how you want to feel.

In the comments, tell us, “Why do you move?”