My goals are worth(less) when it comes to fitness

Metrics, empirical evidence, tracking, programming, nutrition, wieghtraining, cardio, and the list goes on regarding what formula makes fitness outcomes happen for an individual.  I’ve often pondered why the heck I am as fit as I am.  Am I really that goal focused?  The answer:  Hell no.  I don’t pay much attention to any fitness goals any more.  Honestly, I haven’t for several years now.  The only ones I can think of are simple performance outcomes in the CrossFit Open each year.  Even with The Open, I don’t think about it much until it comes around.  I mean, I’m not setting specific training goals and holding myself accountable for anything that ‘happens’ in The Open.  If it isn’t meaningful goals and all kinds of scientific, evidence based, training then what is it that leads to what most people in the world truly want: consistent and sustainable fitness?
I think author Neil Strauss did a fantastic job articulating this in a recent episode of Tim Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors podcast.  I encourage you to check out all 20 minutes, it is fabulous and loaded with wisdom.  The statement that stuck with me, however, is this: (starts at minute 18:50 and ends at 21:39)
… A friend of mine, Rick Rubin, moved out to Malibu and I notice his lifestyle changed.  He lost a ton of weight, 140 pounds or something like that.  He started eating really really healthy.  He started working out.  It was amazing to see that shift happen.  So I moved out here as well.  Through Rick, I met a community of people that I workout with.  Every morning at 8 AM I show up to see my friends.  We exercise outdoors or at the beach or in a pool or on someone’s lawn.  We end it with a sauna ice session and we talk about life, whats going on in our relationships and dealing with the issues of the day.  Literally, it is the highlight of my day.  Here’s the crazy thing about it, I’m not trying to hit a weight goal, I’m not trying to hit a muscle goal.  I’m just actually going to spend time with the community of people I enjoy.  It is the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, and it made me realize that the secret to change and growth is not will power or goal setting, but positive community… You are basically the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most.  If you want to make a change in your life there are two ways to do it 1) Put yourself around a community of people who embody that, that thing you want to become, 2) If there is something negative that you truly cannot control make it impossible for yourself.  When will power fails you changing behavior is not enough, there is a belief there.  You can change the belief which takes time, or you can make it simply impossible to do… (this transcription is not word for word, but captures the key points)
This crystalized why I feel as great as I do, and why I continue to become even more fit without really thinking about it at all.  At Muncie CrossFit I am around my friends.  These friends of mine have similar values to me and their behavior consistently in alignment with those values.  I look forward most to the jokes, laughs and conversation that happens in and around the ‘real work.’  Yes, I post my scores, I hope I improved and stayed healthy (uninjured) as a I train, but that is not what gets me to the gym.  Not even close.  Who are my friends you may ask?  It is simply anyone who shows up to the 4 PM class.  I know all I really need to know about a person who made that decision any given weekday.  Putting myself in close proximity in a shared experience consistently with these people has given me a quality of life, level of fitness and cognitive boost that I would struggle mightily to replicate anywhere else.
If I have one ask of anyone reading this it is to meditate on this question:  What do I want to become and what do I have to change to be that person?
For me, I wanted to stay very fit after my college athetic career.  Now with my friends and family at Muncie CrossFit, at 38 years old, I don’t have to think about it at all.  Not with one goal, metric, workout session or even the need to apply will power.  At 38 I’m still hitting lifetime bests and the only thing I can point to is our community.  Thank you to my 4 PM class partners, and to everyone other member who has made this loving, open and humble community what it is.