According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an obsession is a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; a compelling motivation.
Among fitness enthusiasts there’s a quote that keeps coming up in various circumstances “Obsessed is just a word lazy people use to describe the dedicated.” It got me thinking about how we judge dedication and persistence, especially in a field we don’t particularly relate to, as a negative thing, as something that is unhealthy, unreasonable and can somehow destroy us or parts of us. But let’s take a step back and see what exactly makes something quality as an obsession, not according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but according to the common understanding of it.
What happened the last time you were obsessed with something? Truly dedicated and persistent, committed to something that became more important to you than anything else. Did you accomplish a goal that may have seemed impossible in the beginning?
I’ve had quite a few obsessions over the years, some that lasted a few months, others that lasted years and others that have become a part of me. Even though I don’t particularly see them as obsessions, they’ve definitely been seen as such by the outside world. Many years ago, I decided to try out being a vegetarian (before it was popular). I tried it for 6 months and realized it wasn’t for me, but for those 6 months, I was dedicated to it. The outside world didn’t find it as charming.
When I started my fitness journey, I had a similar experience. My dedication included working out every day. It didn’t matter what the workout was or for how long, but I had to do it, no questions, no excuses. I remember one time when I was traveling with some friends, I woke up early to hit the hotel gym before we got around to our daily activities. The word “obsessed” came out to describe me again as if it was somehow the worst thing in the world.
Maybe it’s time we took another approach to obsession and focus on its secondary definition “a compelling motivation.” If you feel a compelling motivation to do something positive, something that makes your life better, something that improves your experience at every step, would you be able to achieve the impossible?