The value of achievement lies in the achieving. – Albert Einstein
I’m not typically one of those “getting there is half the fun” types. I want to get to wherever and commence the fun-making with a quickness. Admittedly, this is colored by several years spent living a solid two hours’ drive from most of what qualified as fun, and a propensity for long-distance relationships. Getting there was a pain in the butt, a trial to be endured, another tedious grind; even during the height of the fall color in New England, it was merely a prettier iteration of the reviled FedEx-type Quest.
Fitness is the exception. There are the milestones along the way. There may be cathartic or chemically-interesting sessions. There are the little things you notice along the way that reaffirm that you’re doing the right thing. You’ll begin feeling better. Fitter.
And, yes, there are specific goals – a number on a scale, an article of clothing, lifting one particular heavy thing – but, as these goals are attained, they become fluid and flexible. As you approach what you first thought of as the finish line, you realize you can see even further, and feel pretty good about your chances of getting there. Like that first sign announcing your destination on a long drive, there’s a frisson of excitement. That said, just because you’ve driven all the way to Daytona Beach (or Burning Man, or BlizzCon) doesn’t mean you’re done, does it? Sure, you’re done traveling, but now the actual fun is supposed to start.
Whatever your reasons for pursuing healthier living – whether it’s because you get a charge out of playing some basketball, or a long walk helps clear your head – at some point, once you’ve developed the good habit of exercising regularly, it turns into something you look forward to doing. I’ve been more or less exiled from doing the workouts I want to be doing for the best part of a month. (I’m not one to buy into a lot of that Mercury-in-retrograde or “you asked for it” hoo-ha, but not a week after answering the User Query about exertion headaches, I got walloped with them myself, and have had to take it easy.) It’s driving me nuts not to be hitting the gym the way I’m accustomed to.
Which brings us back to what Uncle Albert said; we can begin to value our achievements not merely by what we have done, but in what we are doing to reach them.