Okay, sit down. Please tell me what your goal is, she asked, staring at me. I stayed silent. She was a young personal trainer meeting her potential new customer, and I did not know what to tell her.

-Many of my clients are preparing for a marathon, and she tried to help me.

– Not me.

-Do you want to lose weight?

-No. The muscles weigh more than fat.

 -Do you want to run ten kilometers in 45 minutes?

-Maybe, I don’t know.

I mumbled that I wanted fun and effective training because I lacked time. She was getting confused.

I joined the fitness club last fall because it is easy for me to run in the woods and walk everywhere in the summertime, but it is the opposite in winter. When it is raining cats and dogs, it is easy to sit a whole day inside.

I need a fitness club membership to get regular exercise. I need exercise to get the power and energy to work, take care of our kids and house, and be a proper company for others. Regular exercise also keeps my life organized and my body vital and happy.

This appointment with the personal trainer was just a free bonus, which I did not want, but it came with my membership.

Explain this to a 22-year-old ex-athlete whose life has been entire of sporty goals and whose next question was even more irritating.

-What is taking your time now that you are so busy you cannot exercise more?

Taking my time? Okay. Some things take my time, even if I don’t want them to. These include paying the bills, buying groceries, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, organizing important papers, and carrying different stuff from the wrong places to the correct places. For example, my sons have left dirty socks, empty water bottles, and pieces of clothes all around the building we call our home.

But most of the things that keep me busy are things I love: kids, husband, family, friends, creative and analytical work, writing, reading, gardening, house decorating, traveling, sleeping, eating good food, watching great movies, and exercising. They are not taking my time, but I am GIVING my time to them voluntarily. The more, the better.

Some self-help guides emphasize strict goals as a way to a happy life. Make a goal, reach it, and then make another. But if your life is a continuing list of unreached goals, are you programming yourself to always want something new? When are you going to enjoy this moment? When can you relax and be happy? A happy and vital life can’t be a temporary goal; it should be an attitude.

Of course, well-stated goals have advantages. They are measurable, reachable, often have a timetable, and are comparable. They are essential in business, studying, and serious sports.

Goals push you, missions persuade.

I think that missions and purposes guide better than strict goals in life. Missions and purposes work long-term and come from your heart. They do not force or push you to do something; they persuade you to do it—day after day.

And when you reach some meaningful step in your life’s journey, you don’t feel that the project is done and what is the next goal. Instead, you think you are on the right track and have reached a lovely milestone.


goals and missions