A vision could loosely be described as something you see in your mind’s eye. In a way, a vision is something that you have to think up. I believe this can (or should) be a deliberate, mindful process, as opposed to some random idea which just pops into your head. So, to bring the discussion out of the ether, let’s talk fitness vision: a Fitness Vision is how you see your personal fitness/wellness at some defined point in the future. And let’s define a few of those future points so we can get a reasonable sense of change over time. These are completely arbitrary, and you could pick your own points. I chose these to give some higher resolution in the near future and more of a zoomed out look as we look further ahead (think acceleration curve).

1. ­Today: We all need to start with where we are currently at. We need a realistic appraisal. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. We need that brutally honest evaluation of:

– our basic physical health and readiness for exercise/activity

– our willingness (enthusiasm and motivation) for exercise/activity

– our current physical ability, including our mobility, flexibility, agility, strength, etc.

Whatever we are going to set out to do needs to be reasonably and realistically connected to how ready, willing and able we are to engage in some activity. If you haven’t been active for a while, see a doctor and tell them you intend to become more active – ask if they have any concerns given your current state. This is not your “vision”, per se, but it is the starting point from which your vision of your future “fitter” self is built. It is your push-off-from-here point.

2. One Month: How do you see your activity level in a month? Are you seeing yourself active once per week? Twice per week? Three times per week? This is about how YOU see YOURSELF in a month. Start conservative, but cast a vision of how active you want to be in a month. Once you have established a vision, you can build a plan and then execute it (tune in later for that discussion).

3. Three Months: How do you see yourself and your activity level three months from now? Seriously? If you are struggling to see this (i.e., to envision your active self), you will definitely struggle with making it happen. So be bold, and cast a vision for how you would like to see yourself in three months. Be reasonable, but be progressive; don’t be satisfied with staying at the same one-month level forever. Your three-month vision should extend your reach!

4. Six Months: By six months, it is reasonable that you should be more flexible, more agile, and have noticeably better endurance. Does your vision have you taking on bigger challenges and working toward more substantial goals? It should. As your vision moves further downfield, so to speak, into the future, envision yourself progressively getting better, no matter what level you started at. Keep in mind that, if you are newer to exercise, your goals should be scaled appropriately. “Exercise activity” should gently and gradually stretch you out of your existing comfort zone. Your body will recover on your rest days. Your comfort zone will actually shift upward, so you can do MORE in your comfort zone. Does your six-month vision take into account the fact that you are increasingly able to do MORE activity, with MORE intensity? Establish a vision that includes continuous, steady growth and progress. Fitness goals can probably be increased as you go, because, by this time, you are probably slowly but continuously getting better.

5. One Year: Where do you see yourself in a year from now? Does your vision include you having joined any teams, activities or fitness classes? Are you including regular activity in your daily routine? Do you think about it and plan for it on a regular basis a year from now? And have you made any other healthy lifestyle choices, for example, changing eating habits or leaving behind some less-than-good-for-you activities?

6. Two Years: Can you even see yourself two years from now? Keep the idea of progressively stretching your comfort zone and gradually introducing healthy activities and lifestyle choices into your life. Most people don’t need to radically upend their life, but some do. Prioritize “taking good care of your physical health” and “making healthy lifestyle choices”. If you’re far from these now, your fitness vision may require radical changes. But here’s a thought to ponder: is it ever a bad idea to invest in your own wellness?

7. Five Years: You’re on your own for this one! I certainly can’t tell you what your vision for yourself should look like five years out, but I certainly can tell you that if you HAVE a five-year vision for yourself – and if it’s a good one – there’s a WAY better chance that you will look like your envisioned self than if you DON’T HAVE a vision!

Ancient wisdom says that a vision is so important that people will literally perish if they don’t have one. So my recommendation is that you become a Visionary.  Put some thought into this, and develop a Fitness Vision of how you would like to see yourself in the future.

And then, GO FOR IT!!