Many people go through life chasing happiness as if it can be found at a certain destination.
“When I lose the weight, I’ll finally be happy.”
“Once I resolve this health condition, then I’ll start loving my body and be happy.”
“I’ll finally be happy once I’m deadlifting as much weight as she does.”
And while that may seem logical, the truth of the matter is—happiness is not a destination.
For the early part of my twenties, I believed life would finally happen when I achieved a certain body type and performance level. My unhappiness was simply due to the things I currently wasn’t—and if I could just eat less and train a little more, everything would get better.
While I didn’t know it at the time, this thought process was completely paralyzing because it didn’t allow me to enjoy present experiences to the fullest, or take advantage of the opportunities I had right in front of me.
The more power I gave to a certain body type or shape, the more I believed I needed to be that body type in order to get the power back. And so, the destination consumed my thoughts.
When you believe that happiness can be found somewhere or in something, you get overly fixated on reaching that destination, and completely forget about the journey. You shut down your own authority, and stop yourself from stepping into your power. Power that is rightfully yours, and you don’t have to earn. Power to make decisions that are right for you—and based on how your body is responding.
It’s easy to get caught up in the destination mentality because of messaging from the media, and the health and fitness industry. In order for you to buy into the next diet, program, or product line, you must believe you need to be something else in order to be happy.
You must believe something is wrong with you.
“Just buy our shakes and supplements and you’ll finally be happy, confident, and worthy of love and attention!”
Shame is an incredibly powerful motivator, and if you’re convinced you should feel ashamed for being what you are now, you’re very likely to buy whatever is being sold as the “solution.” This is a well-proven marketing strategy, which is why it’s used so often.
The truth is, there is no one specific body type, weight, job, health status, or fitness goal that is going to make you inherently happy. There isn’t a linear relationship between leanness and life satisfaction, and doing any one diet or fitness protocol is not the secret to everlasting life and happiness.
Understanding that health and happiness is a journey and not a set destination changes how you interact with life entirely.
Ultimately, it gives you the freedom to fluctuate.
Your body—to include your physical, mental and emotional health—is dynamic and ever-changing. This is because life is ever-changing, and your body is always experiencing and adapting to new stressors and circumstances.
Fluctuations are normal. Your body fluctuates. You health fluctuates. And it’s all OK.Your life isn't the same—so why should your body always be the same?
When we think we need to be at a certain destination to be happy, worthy, and loved, small fluctuations result in unnecessary stress and anxiety, and happiness is fleeting. Giving yourself the freedom to fluctuate means not feeling guilt or shame when things change. This translates into more balance, less beating yourself up, and working with your body, not against it.
In the end, happiness isn’t the result of what your body is—it’s the result of what your body does. When this reality “clicks,” and you’re free to pursue health in a way that best fits your body, you start living with total presence.
And speaking from experience—total presence is a much more enjoyable way to travel.
Have you been pursuing health or happiness with a “destination” mentality? Feel free to discuss in the comments below!