Marie Kondo Your Fitness
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt

“You get a goal! You get a goal! Everyone gets a goal!”

Thank you, CrossFit Oprah.

Here’s the thing…some of us may be ready to set some goals, others may not be. Maybe you’re struggling to identify what you want to work towards. Maybe you’re not inspired by what you’ve identified you want to focus on. Maybe you have failed in the past and goal setting has left a bad taste in your mouth. So before I discuss setting goals with you, I want to share a part of my story. I had to go the past year/year and a half, without much attachment or intention towards objective, measurable goals in the gym to find my joy again with movement. That sounds strange for a strength & conditioning coach to write, but it’s the truth.

After a lifetime of wearing the identity of “athlete”, I was in need of resetting and redefining my mind and body’s relationship with exercise and the gym space. So, I intentionally made my time in the gym all about letting go of objective numbers and goals to allow for more intuitive relationships with my body, mind, and exercise. I wanted to spark some joy! Think Marie Kondo meets CrossFit.

Does this barbell back squat cycle spark joy? No. Thank you for your service, barbell back squat, I do not need you anymore. 

*Discards barbell and picks up sandbag*

All of that meant not so impressive things for my performance metrics, but really great things for my mental and emotional state. You win some, you lose some! I feel better for having taken the journey and exploring and am a more well rounded mover now because of it. 

It’s Not About the Goal

All that being said, I’m not here to trash on goal setting. Goals have a purpose! They are a North star, guiding our decisions and commitment. When used aptly, goals are a tool to motivate us to reach a bit farther than we think we can, and they create momentum and accountability. They acquaint us with the characteristics of commitment, perseverance, and focus. For that reason alone, setting goals is an invaluable tool regardless of the objective we aim at. Because when you learn to persevere, commit and have focus, you can apply those skills in all areas of your life. And as a coach, that’s the HOT content I’m here for!

Without any goals at all, we can become directionless or stagnant. Beware, setting a goal is not a magic cure-all, they have a time and a place. Goals without much intention behind them often reap what they sow – which is progress in a direction that you may not want to go. But like I said earlier, aptly used goals are powerful tools.

It sounds sacrilegious to say, but I don’t actually care if you PR your back squat!

*Gasp!* I mean, I do but I don’t…hear me out!

What I really care about is who you become on the way to PR’ing your back squat.

Sound cheesy? Damn right! But in 2021, I’m only speaking radical truth. I want you to succeed in your goals, and I have the tools to help you get there. But I coach because I believe in the power of movement and physical challenge to change our minds and bodies for the better, without correlation to a body fat percentage, 1RM lift, or most other measurable objectives. 

Back squats on their own don’t change lives, but the effort required to get better at something does. As a coach, I desire to cultivate that mindset. If this resonates with you at all, let me know in the comments! 

On the other hand, if you want to learn to spark joy with your own movement practice, you need to figure out how to Marie Kondo your fitness routine. No other goals needed. I swear it’s a thing, and it’s just as worthy of a pursuit as that 1RM backsquat 😉


Check out some other articles by Coach Kirsten…

Rethink Your Breathing

The Cascading Effect of Action Dominoes

The Most Revealing Test in CrossFit

Eat Your (Movement) Vegetables

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