Do you know of someone who has been practicing yoga for years, seemingly without becoming bored or tired of it? And yet, many of us experience difficulty sticking with our own workout routines for more than a few weeks. What makes yoga so special, and why do so many people tend to stick with it for years? And while yoga carries many health benefits, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could apply that same level of dedication to the rest of your exercise routine?

Think about how yoga is different from other types of exercise. Those who practice yoga aren’t focusing solely on their bodies, attaining a certain weight, or looking good in a swimsuit. Their focus is divided between physical strength and flexibility, and other mental and emotional goals. Many people practice yoga to relieve stress, raise energy for the day, release trauma from the body, attain mental clarity and focus, and so on. Yoga is viewed as a holistic health practice, rather than a means to an end.

On the other hand, when we set workout goals, we often view them as having an end point. We want to lose twenty pounds before summer. Or we want to be able to run five miles. These are goals that we can theoretically attain… but then what? Once we’ve attained that goal, we often quit exercising. Or, in another scenario, the goal seems unattainable so we quit before we ever reach it.

We quit exercising because we are using fitness to satisfy singular, external goals, rather than more meaningful, internal ones. Exercise then becomes a chore, and no one likes chores!

What if you viewed exercise as something you do to create continual benefits, rather than a single concrete goal? When you view your daily walk as stress relief, your alone time, or a way to boost your self esteem, you can see why you would be more motivated to stick with it. Your weightlifting regimen could be a way to build confidence, increase mental focus, or start your day with more energy. Can you see the difference now? These are deeper, more meaningful motivations than “lose a certain amount of weight” or “look good in a swimsuit by June”. These are goals that would continue to motivate you for years to come.

These are goals that are good for your long term health. And that’s the real reason we should all be exercising.

Try shifting your goals and see what happens to your exercise routine. Hopefully, you will become like that lithe, yoga-loving friend of yours, and begin to view exercise as the key to overall health.