Re-Examining Priorities

This is the time to re-examine your priorities: think deeply about your goals, analyze your values, understand why you want to achieve what you want to achieve, re-assess your abilities, and strategize about how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Why this time?  Because lots of reasons.

  • The entire world is suffering from a viral pandemic that has shocked all of our social, economic, and political systems.
  • We as individuals have been locked-down in our homes for months with massive changes to our daily routines and modes of life.
  • Memorial Day just happened!  That means it’s summer, right?  Time to be active and do stuff.
  • The government is loosening restrictions on outdoor activities, and–at least around here–gyms will be opening again to limited patrons very soon.

I’m sure you could come up with a whole bunch of reasons why this moment is an important inflection point, and a suitable time to take another look at your priorities.  I know I could keep adding to that list for a while.

In addition to fitness goals, we could also talk about business goals, financial goals, relationships, service work, community activities, and so many other things.  But, this is ostensibly a fitness blog, so let’s just stick to fitness today.  Fitness is a microcosm for life anyway, and a great place to begin your work.  (See my blog about Praxis for some reasonings about that).

My Fitness Goals

If you’ve trained with me, or followed this blog, you may know that I have for the past couple of years pretty much focused on the Athletic Skill Levels to organize my training priorities.  And, if you read my most recent blog, you will already know that I am just now tenuously returning from a foot injury that kept me off feet-based training for the past two months.  However, on the upside, I got quite a bit stronger in my upper body over those two months and managed to check a couple of skills off my list!

So, one of the first things I did this week was open up my skill level chart.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 8.55.45 AM

This is an interesting visualization of accomplishments and goals.  Not everyone is gonna do something like this, I know, but it is a useful teaching tool I think.

Why do I use this system?

  • I value a balance of functional strength, proprioceptive skill, and metabolic capacity.
  • I enjoy lifting weights, practicing gymnastics, and doing cardio.
  • I have a background with implements like the barbells, kettlebells, and gymnastics rings that this system uses, and have all this stuff available at home.
  • I learned a lot from the guy who created this system and I’m fond of the philosophy behind it.

Whatever rod you use to measure your own goals and achievements, I think it should also be similarly calibrated to your preferences, resources, and values.

Anyway, looking closely at that chart, you might notice a certain glaring set of weaknesses: the “Work” category down by the bottom!

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 8.56.00 AM

So, yeah. I’ve been focused so much on strength & skill over the past couple years that my work capacity really fell off.  I spent a few months building that up again, but then the foot injury happened, and–yeah–this stuff slipped down again.  Clearly, my priorities this summer will be metabolic conditioning, stamina, and muscle endurance.

Revisiting the checklist from the first sentence of this post:

  • I have some clearly-defined goals
  • These are connected to my values
  • I know why I want to achieve them
  • Now it’s time to re-assess my abilities
  • Then I’ll be able to devise a new training strategy

I wrote a list of my top-10 priorities on the white board and began testing them one-by-one as I also re-accustom myself to lower body work and cardio.  This process will probably take me the entire next month to complete both assessment and acclimation.  The list actually looked different yesterday because I was able to assess a skill today and check something off, then adjusted the list.


I have some things to test.  Some of these I know are really far off, so it’s just about getting used to practicing them again so that I can turn up the volume on my training.  By the end of June, I’ll be ready for a new serious training program.

How Does This Apply to You?

There are a couple valuable lessons in here.  First, take out some notepaper and write that list:

  • What are your current fitness goals?
  • How do those goals embody your values?
  • Why are those goals important to you?
  • What are you currently able to do; how far away from your goals are you?
  • Which actions will you take to move closer to those goals?

If you need help with the first three things on the list, then it might be time for a consultation.  My blogs on Reasons to Move, The Moral Imperatives of Our Impending Doom, The Vision, Permission to Change, and Being Real might also help you think about these questions.

Then, once you’re ready to test your abilities, it might be important to schedule some assessments.  If not in-person, these can be done remotely via video.  If not with me, you can get assessments done from a qualified personal trainer near you, or even assess yourself on certain things.

And then it’s planning time.  This is where priorities meet the calendar and the schedule and turn into actionable daily, weekly, and monthly training strategies.  Not sure where to start?  I wrote about that.  Some important ideas about how to order your priorities were also touched on with this little doodle.  You might need to take yourself through a scheduling exercise and start training outside the box.

If you think this process sounds important, and you’ve learned something from this little example, but you lack the skillset or knowledge to take yourself through this process, you might need to hire a coachMy services are likely very different from what you may have experienced from other fitness professionals in the past.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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