Emotions From Inside Out, Pt. 4: Joy on the Journey
Alright folks, we’re moving right along here on our fitness feels trip. We’ve covered some pretty deep emotions already, so today we’re going to lighten it up a little and talk about Joy! Of the emotions from Inside Out, Joy was really the star of the show, and acted as the main leader at Riley headquarters. It’s pretty obvious when we’ll experience joy on the course of a fitness journey, right? Joy is ever-present when we’ve accomplished our goals, but what about the rest of the time? Are we supposed to be miserable until we get where we’re going? Let’s take a closer look at joy, as it’s presented in Inside Out, and how we can celebrate achieving our major goals, but also find joy on the journey to achieving them.
Emotions From Inside Out: Joy
Like I mentioned above, in the movie, Joy was the emotion who really ran the show in Riley’s brain. She worked endlessly to make sure that Riley was able to find the good in every situation, have fun and be happy a majority of the time. This really showed through in Riley’s personality, as she presented as a relatively happy, well-adjusted young girl with a good family, friends, hockey, etc. It was with the cross-country move that things got difficult, and sadness entered the picture a bit more than Joy would have liked. I won’t go into anymore detail on that for now — you can watch the movie and get a better idea of how that all goes down. Primarily, though, Joy was responsible for helping Riley seek out the good in every situation, and enjoy life to its fullest – a pretty great job description, if you ask me.
In fitness, we know when we’re going to experience joy – when we finally hit our goal weight, get that six-pack we’ve been dreaming of, or we’re able to knock 50 pull-ups without even thinking about it anymore. A couple of those might be extreme, but often times, we get hyper-focused on our ultimate goal — even if we know it’s a year-long (or more) goal. For some, this can make the journey a daunting one, which is something we really don’t want.
If you’re planning to make fitness a lifestyle, then it’s important you learn to fall in love with the process. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely fine to also be in love with the amazing results you’ll undoubtedly get from all of the hard work you put into your nutrition and training. but if that’s your only source of joy — the “end” of whatever goal you’ve set — it’s going to be a brutally long, frustrating journey for you. I’ve been 100% guilty of this in many areas of my life – fitness, school, work, relationships, etc. We’re results-driven people, and this is a trap that so many of us fall into in all areas of our lives.
A Few Tips to Help You Find Joy on the Journey:
1. Once you’ve determined what your long-term goals are, break them down into smaller goals. I go into more detail about this in 6 Ways to Achieve Any Goal, but the main idea is to set several smaller, perhaps weekly or monthly, goals that lead up to your ultimate goal. This gives you a chance to monitor your progress toward your ultimate goal, and also provides more opportunities to celebrate – joy on the journey: GUARANTEED!
2. Keep track of your victories! This is something that I learned to do when I was working with a nutrition counselor. Each day, I wrote down every victory I achieved. Things like – hitting my water intake for the day, getting a compliment about slimming down from somebody, working out instead of taking a nap, hitting a new personal best in the weight room — basically anything positive that happened that day. It’s so easy to mess up along the way – delicious (but bad for you food), peer pressure, fatigue, sickness — it’s all going to get in our way. So, start tracking your daily victories, no matter how small, and you’ll have a record of just how awesome you’re doing…more joy on the journey for you!
3. Do the things you love to do. In fitness, this is different for everybody. Some people love to lift weights (me, me, me!), others like to run (not me, not me, not me!), some like yoga, group classes, working out with a buddy, swimming, working out at home, working out outside — whatever. The same goes for nutrition…some people like eating hardcore paleo, some prefer a caloric deficit approach that allows them to eat what they want within their calorie limit. Guess what! It doesn’t matter, as long as it works for YOU, and you’re getting the results you want from it.
This is your journey, and so it must be tailored to you. Don’t let anybody tell you that you have to suffer through something just because it worked for them. Honestly, if you think it sucks, you’re not going to be able to maintain it anyway. Find out what works for you — what type of exercise gets you excited? Maybe none right now…I think that’s the case for a lot of people. So start small – hidden exercise. Walk your friend’s dog, go disc golfing, commit to one tabata workout each day (they’re only 4 minutes, so the suffering is over quickly!)…you just need something to get you started.
Anyway, the point is, in order for you to truly fall in love with this lifestyle and the process of constant progress that comes with it, you need to do what works for you. I can give you all kinds of strategies to help you enjoy this process, but YOU are the only one who can truly find joy on the journey — because it’s yours!
How have you found joy on your journey? Do you have a unique approach to your training or nutrition plan? We’d love to hear your thoughts and/or questions!
Until Next Time….
Founder: MCP Total Fitness
Emotions From Inside Out: Next, and Final, Stop — Sadness!