The goal often isn’t really the goal

Rob Arthur
2 min readAug 7, 2019


Have you ever set a health or fitness goal?

To reach a specific weight.

To hit specific performance target.

To bring lab values to within a certain range.

Then you make a plan.

To train.

To eat.

To recover.

This is generally what we do when we set fitness goals.

What if I told you that these goals — these measurable outcomes we seek and the steps we take to make them happen — aren’t actually our goals?

When you dig deep.

When you look inside yourself.

You may find that it’s not the number on the scale, the weight on the bar, or the lab values that matter most.

It’s what your life looks like as a result of the change that takes place in you as you work towards these outcomes.

Waking up in the morning energized and ready to seize the day.

Keep up with your kids and grandkids until their hairs gray.

Looking yourself in the mirror, knowing that you can keep a promise to yourself.

Doing what you need to do to keep doing what you love to do until your final breath.

These are the goals.

These never change, even if your approach to get to them varies.

You might run a 5K.

You might compete in a powerlifting meet.

You might hike the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest.

Sure, these activities provide value on their own.

Their real value, however, is in how the preparation, the anticipation, and who you become in pursuit of these activities bleeds over into the rest of your life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the “what” and the “how” of our efforts that we completely forget to ask ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing.

What value do you hope to add to your life by improving your health and fitness?

How will your life be different if/when we achieve whatever “goal” you set for yourself?

When setting fitness goals, consider starting with “why”.

When you identify the “why”, the “what” and the “how” will fall into place.

It may take some time to get them figured out, but you’ll get there.

Just start with “why”.

You’ve got this.

Originally published at on August 7, 2019.



Rob Arthur

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