Fitness goals drive Jerry Mathis.
They compel him to accomplish athletic feats that most people wouldn’t attempt – let alone most people who are 76 years old.
“If I just went to the gym to exercise without also having a goal in mind, I’m not sure how much progress I would make – in my physical abilities or mental,” says Jerry, a retired music teacher. “Part of what works for me is having a goal. I enjoy it.”
With the help of regular workouts, Jerry recently completed two-thirds of his 2022 fitness goal. He ran a 5K obstacle course race and a 10K obstacle course race (on the same weekend), part of his planned “trifecta.” He aims to complete it with a half marathon-length race of more than 13 miles and 30 obstacles.
And he only ran his first obstacle course race last year, right before his 75th birthday.
“They’re addictive, believe it or not,” he says. “If you do one, you want to do another.”
Goals Are a Proven Way to Succeed
What kind of goals do you have for your own fitness and health? They don’t have to involve running races or climbing obstacles like Jerry’s.
Some people want to exercise so they can improve at golf, tennis or other sport.
Others want to lose a certain amount of weight – or lift a certain amount of weight.
Maybe you want to lower your blood pressure or risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The motivations are endless, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.
But we know that setting goals helps by:
- Providing motivation and accountability
- Developing plans to make the gains you want to achieve
- Managing your time and other commitments
- Setting expectations – and seeing your progress along the way
Some people apply a tool from business, making SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
A ‘Trifecta’ by the End of the Year
Jerry works out at the gym with a trainer on his core, balance, strength and cardio. His trainer stresses the importance of setting intentions and reaching them. A few years ago, it was to jump a certain height, and the next to deadlift a certain weight.
“He has put me on these goals and, so far, we’ve reached them,” Jerry says.
This year’s aim was to complete the three races of varying distances. He ran the shorter two in October and is now preparing for the half-marathon. It will be just a couple of months before Jerry’s 77th birthday, and he still has no plans to quit exercising and be sedentary, instead.
“I can’t do that,” he says. “That’s not my lifestyle. I don’t want to grow old sitting not he couch eating potato chips. I’ve got to be out doing something.
“This is crazy, I guess, but I hope I can go into my 80s doing this thing. I’ll give it a good try.”
Sounds like another powerful goal, for sure.