In any physical activity or training program, passion plays a fundamental role in persistence, which defines the habits that we manage to acquire in the process.
In this sense, it is important to understand what kind of passion we are talking about when we seek to achieve radical and lasting changes. Next, we will talk about the concept of «harmonious passion«, how to apply it and some practical tips to get you started.
What is passion and why is it important?
The concept of «harmonious passion» was conceived by Robert Vallerand, the psychologist who also named «obsessive passion«.
Harmonious passion manifests itself mainly through activities that are freely chosen; when you do something because you enjoy it, not because it offers potential rewards, and not to avoid negative repercussions.
Not all moments of harmonious passion are necessarily enjoyable, but overall, they are deeply rewarding. This closely aligns with the ancient Greek notion of eudaimonia, or a type of happiness that results not from overwhelming pleasure but from striving to reach one’s full potential by engaging in activities that one considers significant.
However, the great paradox is that, although external achievement is never a primary goal of harmonious passion, when one is fully immersed in what one is doing for the pleasure of the activity itself, often (external achievement) it is a by-product.
How to apply this concept to training or physical activity?
It is clear that an elite athlete, by himself, is passionate about what he does. In such a case, the focus should be on learning to enjoy the process, rather than permanently focusing on an outcome. Which, in the world of high performance sports, is already a very complex task.
But here we want to focus on those people who are new to the world of physical activity and training, and even those who have only thought about starting, or returning after a long time.
One of the key tasks, in any case, is to establish goals and objectives at different levels and for different periods within a training plan. This implies clearly defining what I want to achieve, establishing reasonable objectives in relation to the current condition, sports background or history, previous experiences, among others.
Setting goals and objectives is a powerful tool to increase the level of participation in a training program, or in any activity that you want to improve. The feelings of success and competition, product of the achievement of each one of the goals and objectives, favor the commitment and help to maintain the attitude towards training, nutrition, rest, etc.
“Those who focus more on success are the least likely to succeed. Those who focused less on success and focus on the process of participating in their task are more likely to do so. ”The Passion Paradox
Practical #tips for a week
Thinking without executing is just an illusion. Let’s do it!
- Goal day 1: Put down your wishes regarding physical activity or sports training on paper (yes, write them down!). As crazy as they may sound today, write them down.
- Goal day 2: Select one that is very important to you and set a time limit to achieve it.
- Goal day 3: Breakdown into short, medium and long-term goals.
- Goal day 4: Write the activities that you like and can lead to the achievement of your goal.
- Goal day 5: Write the activities that are not to your liking but that you would be willing to do at least with some frequency, because you know that they are a condition for achieving the objective.
- Goal Day 6: Plan a weeklong schedule with daily goals that represent a challenge in its entirety (the entire week) but are easy to achieve with the goal of one day. For every 3 tasks that you like, comply with 1 that is not but that is very necessary for your objective. It doesn’t matter how tiny they may sound to others or to anyone who doesn’t motivate you to keep going. A goal for the day might be, go down 5 blocks before you get to work on public transportation and walk those 5 blocks. The important thing is that it is challenging for you and only for you!
- Goal day 7: Schedule logistics to bring the week you have planned to reality.
Well, you already know what the goal of day 1 of week 2 is: Perform your work of the day!
«Small daily improvements create great results over time»R. Sharma
Harmonious passion is not something that happens magically, instead it requires work and practice. This is especially true in a culture that motivates the dark side of passion. Our result-oriented culture, obsessed with instant gratification, tends to judge ourselves, by the context of social media opportunity, and trains our eye for external achievements and victories.
Creating a sustainable harmonious passion – the best kind of passion – demands going against the grain and cultivating a radically different mindset.
If you have questions about cultivating the harmonious passion type and / or setting your goals and objectives write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stulberg, B., & Magness, S. (2019). The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life. Rodale Books.