Juggling Goals

How to Combine short and long-term health and fitness goals

Man juggling and balancing
Juggling in front of Eiffel Tower. Getty images

Keeping multiple, seemingly unrelated goals in balance requires a broad perspective and consideration of the "big picture”. Simultaneously, short-term, target-focused goals provide day-to-day meaning and inspiration to work towards specific achievements. 

Is it possible to juggle multiple goals which combine short and long-term objectives?

Here is a look at different types of training goals, followed by a suggestion of how to integrate these different kinds of goals.

Performance goals 

Performance goals are short-term targets toward some measurable result.

Common themes for performance goals include:

  • Lifting heavier weights and for longer periods
  • Sports performance, professional, amateur, or recreational
  • Improving running speed or endurance
  • WOD (Crossit templates)

Performance goals are objective since the progress can be easily measured through testing (performance). 

Aesthetic goals 

These relate to changing or somehow improving your looks. To appear more beautiful via a lower body-fat percentage, acquiring more form-fitting clothes, having a more confident carriage, and developing larger or leaner muscles are all aesthetic-oriented goals. This is a primary motivation for body-building, achieving some desired aesthetic. It’s a more subjective orientation than a sport performance goal, since what may be a pleasing aesthetic for one person may be viewed as unattractive to another.


Healthy lifestyle goals

Lifestyle is how one lives, the quality-of-life that may or may not relate to tangible items, but most certainly relates to how one feels, and the attitude taken towards being alive. Happiness and Wellness are choices and attitude counts more than we realize, irrespective of life circumstances.

How one tackles the daily challenge of living goes a long way towards growing beyond that level to a new, higher level of happiness. Attitude is altitude.

Aspects which have a profound effect on a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Sleep quality
  • Low stress and stress-relief practices
  • Positive and happy states of mind
  • Nutrition quality
  • Good digestion and elimination
  • Consistency of healthy habits 
  • Monitoring vital measures such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and hormonal balance.

Integrating performance, aesthetic and lifestyle goals requires balancing common factors which enable you to do more with less. Address multiple, over-lapping goals in less steps. This is accomplished by choosing an approach that covers all bases through the comprehensive nature of the activities selected. 

To have a purely aesthetic goal, such as reducing a waist size or increasing the size of your biceps, may only address body image, but may avoid or even counter-act performance and health goals.

Since athletic performance is largely based on quality of movement patterns training with a muscle-centric approach may not yield the best performance improvements. Further, shape and circumference of muscles and bodyfat percentage are not necessarily related to vital health or positive emotional state. One can look good while being unhealthy or even miserable.

Set short-term performance goals and work toward achieving those targets. But rather than focus on purely aesthetic goals, consider building your exercise program around activities and exercises that allow for the setting of short-term objectives performed in whole-body, multi-planar movement patterns such as found with kettlebell training, and balance those exercise selections with good-quality nutrition, adequate deep sleep and sufficient downtime which allows for stress-reduction. You’ll get aesthetic benefits as well, while simultaneously improving your long-term health prospects through greater movement quality.

Add in annual or bi-annual health check-ups to detect any potential threats to your health and you will have arranged a well-maintained approach to performance, aesthetics and health.

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