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Earlier this year some friends asked me what kind of fitness goals I have. I explained that they were not extravagant goals but to simply be in the shape I need to be in to perform any task or activity I chose at any given moment. This goal was not age-dependent and was to be the foundation for exercise for the rest of my life. I love to surf, snowboard, rock climb, hike, jog with clients, play sports with my kids and a myriad of other activities. I only want to be in the shape necessary to enjoy and thrive in each activity no matter what age I find myself.

They didn’t like my answer too much and thought it was boring and obscure. They enticed me into training for American Ninja Warrior. My ego liked the idea of being an “almost 50-year-old ninja” and I took on the task for a couple of months. After a little while, I realized my heart was not in it, and it had a potential of taking me away from my true “boring” goal.

Short term goals, like being a ninja, are fun, but the true compass of your life is set by your long term goals. I have witnessed too many times people achieving a short term goal and not staying focused on their long term goal to keep them moving forward. How many people have chased a romance and once they marry they take the person for granted? How often have you heard someone losing fifty pounds only to eventually gain it all back and then some? How many people pursue a college degree and as soon as they graduate they stop being a student?

Please don’t misunderstand me. I have short term goals and enjoy the pursuit of achieving them. I have competed in a triathlon and marathon, surfed big waves, hiked 100 miles in Yellowstone, climbed in Yosemite, and graduated college. However, it is my long term goals that mean the most to me and create the foundation for how I behave, how I view my world, and how I treat others. It is what gives me the drive and desire to better myself and be of service to those around me. Here are a few long term goals to give you a sense of what I’m talking about.

  1. Choose foods that help more often than foods that harm.
  2. Move my body everyday.
  3. Never stop being a student.
  4. Help others in need.
  5. Be more honest with myself and others.

These long term goals are what steer my ship. By maintaining these foundational goals, I can achieve all of my short term goals. The short term goals are just destinations I travel through over the course of my life. The destinations, although enjoyable experiences that fit nicely in a photo album, are not what life is about. Take a minute and think about what your long-term goals are. Then ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer or farther away from them. Maybe it’s time to true up your compass and get back on course.