It’s become a cliché to hear that “the journey is the destination” but it’s true. I’ve used this concept to convey how we should be present, focus, and enjoy working out- the journey of fitness. Popular books like Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” as well as a plethora of popular Yoga and meditation books, meditation classes, and meditation courses teach the power of being present and focusing the mind.
Although “enjoying the journey” is important, especially for the positive effect being present and focused may have on anxiety, depression, stress, and other aspects of mental health, it’s crucial to remember that we have an ultimate destination, a goal or end, to focus on too. Don’t forget, we’re all going somewhere, towards some end. We might not all be headed the same direction, but we’re all journeying in life towards some ending. It’s important to keep the end in mind because that’s the ultimate motivation, and the reason for our efforts. Everything we do is connected in some way to everything else we do. If we begin with the end in mind, we can stay motivated and on track.
Living a happy and fulfilling life is something we all want. The good news is that the journey to happiness is simple, because it’s centered on being a good person. So by focusing on being a better person we can be happy along the way, no matter what we’re doing. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life are “the 4 keys to happiness” according to Father Robert Spitzer. These 4 keys to happiness give us an overarching system to structure our actions towards a good life, and thus a happy ending, by improving us as people along the way.
According to the author of the concept, Fr. Robert Spitzer, a polymath theologian, writer, priest, legal scholar, and astronomer, from Gonzaga University and the Magis Center, the 4 Keys to Happiness in order of importance from least to most important are:
- Pleasure- doing things that are enjoyable.
- Achievement- accomplishing things.
- Charity- helping others.
- Ultimate Values- living and striving towards ultimate transcendent truth, beauty, goodness, and virtue.
These 4 keys to happiness offer a framework to structure our efforts. All 4 are important but the lower ones ultimately build towards the higher ones. As we become better people, we’re often also more motivated and happier because we’re focusing on the bigger picture. Focusing on those 4 things reminds us that we want to 1) enjoy things, 2) achieve things, 3) help others, and 4) to strive towards ultimate transcendent values. Even in fitness, we can incorporate these 4 keys. We can keep our ultimate end in mind, and never lose sight of the bigger things.
With regards to fitness, we should enjoy our workouts at least as much as possible, as well as the goals we achieve. But we should also aim to help others along the way, and to uphold the eternal values that point to a higher purpose. The journey matters, yes, but so does the destination. Our journey towards being better people is a destination worth aiming for and one that gives lasting satisfaction and happiness.