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Get fit, not obsessed


A woman training with a ball.

One of the great economists of the modern age, Charles Goodheart, devised one of the lasting theories about economics and politics which continues to influence thinking today.


Professor Charles Goodhart built his reputation as a world-class economist and advised that if ever a government decides to rely on any statistical relationship as the basis for policy, as soon as it did so, that relationship would fall apart.


Goodheart’s Law, as it is now known, implies that what you should try to do is not to disturb the economic environment too much, but rather, to let individuals make the best of the situation that confronts them, as each sees fit individually in the marketplace.


Now, I am no economist, but I understand what Goodheart is referring to here, and also how his theory has wider implications for us beyond economics.


In the world of fitness and training, for example, I also believe that when you start placing goals into the heart of a training plan, it is usually at this point that the training process itself starts to go wrong, and you can end up losing focus on the bigger picture, which is to remain alert and adaptable to why you are training and your starting objectives in doing so.


In other words, when you lose focus in this way, the measures that you might adopt (weight goals, muscle mass, endurance timescales) become goals in themselves and then generate related goals which appear to be improvements on the first goals that were set. Aiming to lose so much weight or run for so long then becomes the base measure for more ambitious targets and these targets can become superseded with others until we end up in an arms race with ourselves.


Why this happens when training is partly to do with how our brains are wired and how they work. This is because our brain is programmed to always be hungry for more from our experiential existence. So, for example, if you have the same car for a long period you may want to change that car, (or partner, or whatever) for a new model, simply because you have become familiar with what you have and want something new; a fresh model, or apparently, something that is better than is in front of you.