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Taking aim at a target is a kind of spiritual discipline. Athletes, sportsmen and women know this. Whether it is a bow and arrow, a golf club or a tennis racket, there is something about taking aim at a target that lines up all our physical and mental resources in a very specific direction and location. We then take actions both large and small to achieve our goal and hit our mark… or miss. The feedback is immediate. We pause, we learn, we make adjustments, and we try again.
Taking aim at our personal targets for health and fitness are also a kind of spiritual discipline. We begin by choosing a target that is realistic, challenging, and meaningful.
We will never hit a target if it is so far in the distance we can barely see it. Choosing a target takes honesty and self-reflection. Our targets should be challenging enough to stretch and inspire us, yet not so lofty that we become discouraged or anxious. You will have chosen the correct target if you feel it is absolutely possible to achieve, with an amount of effort you are willing and able to give.
Target practice is a skill. While it would be nice to know exactly what to do, most of us could benefit by a little coaching. When you have chosen your target, look around and see who has a similar goal. Those folks can support and encourage you. Who has successfully hit that target? What advice and habits do they have? Follow them. See if it works for you. Needless to say, steer clear of people who discourage or distract you. You will need to concentrate to hit your target.
Some targets are “hit or miss”. You either make your goal, or fail. Having incremental points of feedback on one’s performance provides valuable information and a learning experience. Hitting a “bullseye” is satisfying, but most targets are drawn in a series of concentric circles that let you know how close, or how far off the mark, your last attempt came to the center of the target. When aiming for a goal, it is important to not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. Just because we missed by a mile, we can stay in the game and do better next time.
What are your health and fitness targets this year? Are they worthy of your time and focus? What steps will get you closer to your goal? Write them down and take aim. Your future self is waiting.