For some time, I have been immersed in the process of clarifying my life values. While I was doing it, it occurred to me that I could probably benefit from clarifying the values that guide – or would ideally guide – my pursuit for health and physical fitness.
After thinking about this for a while, I ended up with the following set of values (in no particular order):
- Learning / exploration
- Gracefulness / Elegance of movement
Balance. I chose balance as an important value tp me, because I don’t want to develop any one physical quality – strength, flexibility, speed, endurance – so much that it’s grossly out of proportion with other qualities. I want all “parts of me” to fit together smoothly. In other words, I want to be in balance. 🙂
Vitality. I yearn for my body to be a source of vitality and joy. When I was writing this early post, I was seeing myself in my mind’s eye as a strong, pain-free and energetic 50-year-old woman who’s body is a source of joy for her. Not just some lump of flesh I carry around. The vision has stayed with me ever since and that is why I work hard to get rid of my pain and other “dysfunctions”.
Learning / exploration. Learning new things and skills is something I genuinely enjoy. Love of learning also happens to be my top character strength so it’s not a coincidence it appears as one of my top values in this aspect of my life. I love learning things about how my body functions and how things are put together.
Challenge. In my opinion, life is more interesting if I can have little bit of challenge. That is one reason I’m interested in goals like being able to do 10 consecutive military push ups in some day.
Fun and playfulness. I think I’m actually pretty playful and fun-loving as a person, so movement as a source of fun is important to me. I think that this value was a bit neglected in my life till recently (because of tend to overly goal- and achievement –oriented and partly because I’ve worked so hard to get rid of pain).
Luckily learning to dance salsa has solved that “problem” for me. I’ve also noticed that I usually have plenty of movement-related fun every time I meet my little nieces. 🙂
Gracefulness. This is the last ingredient, but not the least important. I think I was attracted to ballet in my teens mostly because ballet is so graceful. It looks beautiful and feels graceful when you do it. Being graceful means you’re able to move your body well, and I think it’s closely related to balance. If I do lots of Feldenkrais in a short time, I always feel very graceful. Doing strength training also has the same effect on me.
The opposite of gracefulness are the Oompa Loompas Marion mentioned in her recent post. 🙂
Note: Values are not goals and other things to consider
The important thing to keep in mind is that values are not goals. Being able to do 10 military push ups is a goal, not a value. You can be in good alignment with your values even if you never reach your goals, because values are more of a quality that you want to express than something you achieve.
Also, you should choose your goals so that they are aligned with your most important values.
Another thing to consider whether what you do in the area of fitness is in good alignment with your values. If your values and what you do are very far apart at the moment, why is that and what could you do to change it?
I came to the conclusion that I’m pretty well aligned with my values in this area of life, even though I’m not close to achieving some of my fitness goals. And before I started salsa in September, I was altogether too serious about my fitness!
If you want to try this value exercise for yourself, you can find a good list of values to on this page. (The link goes to MindTools’ webpage).
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