Since the dawn of time, humanity has used numbers to mark progress. The Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks were among the first to do so, using clay tablets with symbols of geometry inscribed on them to measure everything from the distances of ships and shores, to pyramid height. In the modern day, we use numbers in many ways — especially in the arena of exercise and wellness. We use numbers to track blood pressure, weight, height, cholesterol, blood sugar, range of motion and waist measurements to name a few. We use these numbers as indicators of progress, and they help establish a wellness program as well as provide benchmarks to strive for.
But could there a downside to number tracking?
The short answer? Yes. While number tracking can be useful, we need to be careful that we don’t let the numbers control us. What happens after you reach your goal — do you give up? Or what happens if due to health issues, the original goal can’t be obtained? What if your blood pressure is good as it gets? Maybe you have an irreversible nerve issue affecting your balance and strength — does this mean there’s no point in continuing your wellness or exercise goals? Should you give up?
No. And here’s why.
It’s not about the destination — it’s about the journey. It’s about the benefits of maintaining your health. When you finish a puzzle you’ve been working on, do you quit puzzles forever and never try to put another one together? Of course not. You love puzzles. No matter how challenging, you do it for the fun, the challenge, and the satisfaction. When a mountain climber summits Mount Everest, are they finished with their climbing career? Of course not. Climbing Everest is a goal they’ve reached, but that’s not why they did it; they did it because they love climbing — because it invigorates them and keeps them healthy.
In short: it’s not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves. When you feel like giving up, think back to your Why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Chances are, because it’s good for you — because you’re healthier for it. When things feel difficult, remember that you’re not doing it just to hit a goal: you’re doing it for reasons that go beyond goals. Life will always have ups and downs — all of us have off days, weeks, or even months, where we have to put our goals our passions on hold to recover from a sickness or injury or care for a loved one. How we move through those hard times to get back on the horse and continue doing what we need to do, is what defines us.
In 2018, we can all try to make better choices. Don’t just look at the numbers. Look inward, to your Why.