I remember a time in my life where I would regularly get up at 4:45 a.m. and be at the gym by 5:15 a.m. to grind out a hard workout.
Oh, the ambition of younger me. (Yes, four years qualifies as ‘younger.’)
At that time, I was completely focused on what happened at the gym and what I was eating. Things like my sleep schedule and paying attention to how my joints felt were afterthoughts.
But it wasn’t sustainable. Eventually, my joints broke down. Eventually, I actually felt the sleep I was losing. Eventually, I realized that to just focus on performance in just one goal area was not enough.
I needed to strive for a functional life, not just do all I could to reach a goal.
I’m only 23, but even at a still young age I’ve started to understand that goal setting can’t be to the detriment of the rest of my life – it needs to work within a functional life.
There will be some days where I can fit in an hour-long workout that leaves me on the ground with shaking muscles. There will be some days where I have to be happy with a 20-minute workout. There will be some days where my body is sore or sick and gentle yoga or a walk is what I’m shooting for. Seeking movement is functional; only accepting a long, hard workout is not.
There will be days where I read for hours. There will be days where I only read a few pages. There will be days where I pick up my Kindle just to drop it on my face as I fall asleep. Seeking to read every day is functional; setting length or time minimums is not functional.
There will be days where I play guitar until my fingers feel like they will fall off. There will be days where I play for 15 minutes. There will be days where I look at my guitar, pick it up, strum a few chords, then go to bed. Seeking to pick up my guitar every day is functional; setting hard to attain time goals is not.
I have come to a point in life where I still want to work hard to achieve things that are worth achieving. But I want to do so in a sustainable, functional way. One where if my schedule is derailed, my entire day isn’t ruined. One where all parts of my life are healthy and flourishing, not just one.
I’m working toward my goals. But this time, I’m working toward them in a functional way.