Building a Better Body (Part 2): The “Why”
Why do you want to build a better body? The question seems trite, but it’s worthy of some careful consideration. The most common answers usually revolve around a few central themes...
Fitness is primarily thought of as a cosmetic endeavor – we often start training because we want to look good. Alternatively, it may be more about health and physical well-being - you’re tired of feeling tired, or you can’t stand another day being weak and out of shape. For some - the athletes among us - exercise is appealing because they believe it will help them in their chosen sport (maybe the sport of bodybuilding itself), or will provide an opportunity to challenge themselves and their bodies after the high school and college days of sports training and performance are over. All of these goals, as diverse as they may seem, are precisely the same in the following way – they all have the ultimate goal of feeling good emotionally.
It’s an often-overlooked fact that everything we do, throughout every moment of every day, has as its basis the ultimate goal of feeling good. There is simply no other motivation. Even those who hurt others, whether out of spite, revenge, the acquisition of material objects, or just to relieve an overwhelming feeling of anger, do it because they believe they will feel better as a result of those actions.
Similarly, people who give charitably of their time or resources will often note how great it makes them feel to help others. If feels good to do good. The things we think we want, those items on our “goals” list, are only stepping stones to the one true goal – feeling good – and building a better body is no different in this regard.
Let’s take a look at the cosmetic motivation. You’ve heard it before, “Looking good is feeling good.” It really does feel great to be confident about how you look. Shyness and self-doubt melt away; you look forward to meeting new people instead of dreading social gatherings. Hey, someone new to admire your awesome physique - sounds like fun! There’s no shame in liking the positive attention of others. Humans are social animals; and though we shouldn’t rely on the opinions of others to determine our own self-worth, there’s no harm in being proud of your body. The bottom line – we want to look good, because it feels good.
How about the goal of being stronger and more physically capable? How would it feel to carry all the groceries from the car to the door without hurting yourself or making ten trips? Or having the energy to make it through the work day without feeling like your keyboard would make a suitable pillow? How about holding your three-year-old in one arm, and doing the laundry with the other? It would be convenient, satisfying, stress-reducing, and create a more enjoyable experience overall. Daily tasks would cease to be such a burden, and we may be able to participate in some activities that we had to sit out before - and that would feel great. The bottom line – we want to be strong and fit because it feels good.
For the athletes, no one has to tell you the thrill that comes with victory. Being the hero of the game, or achieving a new level of accomplishment in your chosen sport, is extremely satisfying - whether it’s football, weightlifting, tennis, dancing, or being a Ninja Warrior. Surprising yourself or your teammates with your superior athletic capabilities is a rush! Trophies, accolades, and admiration all contribute to our self-confidence and make us proud of the work we’ve done. The bottom line – we want to be successful at our sport because it feels good.
So here’s a novel idea, and I know it’s way out there – since feeling good is the ultimate goal anyway, why not start feeling good now? This doesn’t mean you should stop reaching for your goals, but how you feel is a choice that you make in every moment, and it’s based upon your thought process. If you’re thinking, “Once I have the body of my dreams, then I will finally feel good,” I’ve got news for you -- you’ve got it backwards.
You don’t have to earn the right to feel good by achieving your goal. In fact, you will be at your most effective when you feel upbeat and optimistic throughout the process. It will have the effect of expediting your progress, and giving you the abundance of mental energy necessary to see things through to the end. Staying focused on thoughts that uplift you, and quickly removing your attention from thoughts that bring you down, is a process that will spur you on to greatness.
Whatever your training goals, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the mental and emotional aspects of your training - or your life – as they are the core factors in determining your success.
Thanks for checking in!
If you missed the previous article in this series, you can find it here: