The Motivating Power of an Age-Based Fitness Goal
Join me in the #DoYourAge Fitness Challenge to improve your physical health and mental well-being
UPDATE 5/13/22: I made it! It was a heckuva challenge, especially the last 15 miles, and especially mentally. My 21-year-old son joined me for the last 30 miles, and having a riding buddy along helped a lot. Anyway, the article below remains as originally written. And now, I encourage you: Go find your “mountain” and climb it!
The original article:
Goals are vital for motivating us to stay fit. But as we slide into middle age and beyond, setting motivational goals gets tricky, since we know we’ll never be as strong or as fast as we once were. Not even close.
In my twenties, I could run six-minute miles in the 10K of a short triathlon, my daily training motivated by nothing less than the free T-shirt. Today, I can’t jog one lousy mile in under 11 minutes. Yet, I’m fully aware that even moderate physical activity — anything that gets the bones moving and the heart pumping — improves mood, helps keep the mind and body healthy, and ups the odds of a longer, happier life.
Desperately seeking motivation, I hit upon a solution: Set a goal that doesn’t try to mimic past accomplishments, but instead aims high in relation to where you are today in an activity or an aspect of it that you’ve never excelled at. That avoids any comparison to your younger you. And as with any personal goal, telling others about it is a great way to force commitment and propel you onward like a metaphorical T-shirt emblazoned with your future accomplishment. So…
I’ve set a #DoYourAge Fitness Challenge to mountain bike 60 miles on my 60th birthday.
To be clear, I have never covered 60 miles of the planet in one day without assistance from a motor of some sort, so I’ve got some work to do — and that’s the point.