Fitness That Makes You Happy

Sure, having Kayla Itsines' abs would be great, but would that aesthetic achievement bring you lasting happiness? Would it enhance your mental well-being? Would it bolster your friendships?

Probably not. Not on it's own, at least.

The quest for a particular aesthetic goal can leave you feeling empty, even if you achieve it. 

When I was younger, I ran because I wanted to be thin. I wanted to be thin because I thought it would make people like me more. I know, that's ridiculous, but I think a lot of 18 year old girls get trapped in that mindset. 

I ate salads and wraps and avoided meat and breads. 

I was quite thin, but was I happy? No. 

After my first running phase, I picked up yoga. I saw all of these beautiful women in beautiful, challenging postures and I wanted to be beautiful like them. So I started doing yoga. 

About a year into that, my aesthetic goals shifted yet again. Instead of being a limber and graceful yogi, I wanted to be a bada** lifter girl -- who could also do handstands and all of those super challenging arm balances in yoga. I wanted to look tough.

I say all of this not to say that I didn't/don't enjoy any of these activities. In fact, I enjoy all of these activities. Rather, I want to point out the fact that my goals and intentions were so superficial, which led me to hop from one thing to another. 

Have you felt like this before?

These days, I want to do what I want to do. Not because I think people think it's cool. Not even because I think it'll get me Katiesfitscript's abs. But because I just stinkin' like doing it. Because it makes me feel strong and good.

I am picking running back up again -- my first love. I dropped it when I started my bro life of lifting because I didn't want to lose my precious gains. I'm planning to get back into marathon training in 2016. I don't intend to stop lifting, hiking, or doing yoga, but I do intend to change my mindset towards my goals. 

My challenge for you is to take a step back and look at your life. Are the things you're doing things that bring you joy? Or are you doing things to get approval from others? I'm thinking about these things from a fitness perspective, but the same concepts would apply to a lot of other things in life.

Find what you love. Find what enriches your life. And chase that.