McDermott: Life is a journey and a destination

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

The saying is old and well founded, but it is wrong. The saying “Life is a journey, not a destination” has the best of intentions. Focus on each day and be aware of the magic. Avoid setting yourself up with the classic trap: “I will be happy when….”

If you are constantly saying “I will be happy when: I am more fit, I have more money, I have a better house, I have a better job” and you are miserable in the meantime, then this saying is for you. Having those things won’t necessarily make you happy. But if you can enjoy the process of getting those things no matter where you are and what you are doing, then that is magic!

Let me say this: life is a journey and a (series of) destination(s). Think of all the major steps you may have had in your life so far: graduated high school, got married, had children (or pets), finished a race, went somewhere epic, bought your first house, got your first job or even better, your best job.

Like I said, the saying is accurate, in the sense that you are best served to be happy along the way to every one of those destinations instead of just happy when they occur.

What if we also realized that life is a destination, or more accurately, a series of destinations? I love how hard I had to work to get my gym built and opened. That was a powerful journey and an amazing destination, but it didn’t stop there. As I continued to enjoy the journey, I dreamt up new destinations and set about chasing those.

Fitness is critical here, because it is indeed a series of destinations and absolutely a journey. If you can choose a fitness destination, a goal body fat percentage or goal weight or goal to have clothes that fit – cool! Pick a few more destinations and goals. Then get into that journey and find ways to enjoy it.

Friends, classes, sports, places, people, moments – all of that matters! Do something that you love that gets you moving in a way that challenges you and keep doing that. If you absolutely hate getting all sweaty and working hard and getting to your workout, then you are in trouble. You will never get to that destination and the journey is a drag. You need to figure a way around that.

Once you have found your way to love the journey, embrace those times that your muscles are a little sore, because you know it is because they are growing stronger. Love that you start to have more energy, sleep better, move better, fit your clothes better. I think you can see it is pretty easy to love that part of the journey.

Next comes the destinations and I am here to tell you; they change! My first fitness destination once I got into all of this back in 1998 was to stop being fat and sick and get healthy. I set my goals at being able to see my abs, and to have 14% body fat.

I exceeded that goal and enjoyed arriving at that destination so much that over the next few years that I quit my career in architecture so I could go build a gym. After years of a bodybuilding effort, suddenly I found triathlons interesting and thought I would check out that destination. That changed my life when I crashed, and again my destination changed.

The thing is, you need destinations. You need lots of them. Along the way, you also need to enjoy that journey, because there are no guarantees. The destination you thought you were headed for might cease to exist, change, move or no longer matter to you at some point.

Which brings us back to the journey, and why I always sign off with:

Happy Training! (because I wish you to be happy… when you are training)


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