A skier descending a steep snowy mountain demonstrating the five resolutions of the lifelong athlete.

The 5 Resolutions of the Lifelong Athlete

Dial in these 5 steps to pave the road to athletic success.

#1 Resolution - Purpose (Ikigai)

The 5 resolutions of the lifelong athlete form the foundation of athletic success for any athlete. Implementing them is not easy, but it is powerful. If you are ready to discover the most athletic version of yourself, start here.

Photo of a skier descending a steep snowy cliff.
Photo Credit: Fred Marmsater

The most impactful athletic goals are connected to a deep sense of purpose – a vision of the person you want to become. Anchor your training to this purpose, and 10x the value of every training session. Having a deep sense of purpose is game-changing.

This is what Japanese philosophers call your “Ikigai.” It ensures that when the storms of life threaten your training, your goals are so deeply anchored that they can’t be disrupted. Training for a short term goal is fine, but it’s not enough. You have to reach deeper into understanding who you want to become. These goals should inspire you each morning and guide your decisions in line with your life purpose.

#2 Resolution - Habits (Kaizen)

Two skiers crossing flat terrain at sunrise with headlamps on.
Photo Credit: Fred Marmsater

The second resolution of the lifelong athlete is to form training as a habit, not a grind. Habits are how we reduce the friction associated with daily decisions. Habits turn deliberation into action, and enable us to automate behaviors that lead to the most athletic version of ourselves.

Habits are the train tracks that lead to our goals. Too often, we start the new year with clear goals and no tracks to get us there. Build the tracks first.

Habits are a daily practice, but more importantly, they are a mindset for living according to our purpose. They enable us to achieve what we intend by reducing the friction of the daily routine.

Everybody wishes they had lived according to their purpose, but few can do it. You must have a system to ensure your daily choices align with your purpose. Habits are a system. They are the train tracks that inevitably lead to your goals.

Adopt the 1% improvement every day’ mindset. Respect your goals enough to realize how audacious they are. Accept they cannot be achieved in a week. Embrace the long journey and the unrelenting but incremental progress you will make to get there. 

#3 Resolution - Environment (Shinrin Yoku)

Two friends standing on a rocky outcropping in a snowy mountain range at sunrise.
Photo Credit: Fred Marmsater

Part 3 of the Lifelong Athlete Framework is rooted in the Japanese philosophy of Shinrin Yoku, often translated as “forest bathing.” 

To live the athlete’s life is to be connected to nature. We understand that our biology is interconnected with the natural world and the places we seek to play in.

We are wilderness, just as we seek wilderness.

The third tool of the lifelong athlete is rooted in this understanding. Start your day with sunlight, and stand barefoot outside. For 5 minutes, focus on your breath and lock into the present moment. Give thanks for life, and set your intention for the day, every day.

#4 Resolution - Community

Photo Credit: Fred Marmsater

When I talk to athletes serious about athletic progress, they all tend to focus on the physical aspects of training: reps, sets, how often? What they are missing is the environment in which their training will happen. This matters because sustaining training over the long run requires an environment that supports it. Miss this step, and none of the set & rep schemes will mean anything.

Have a big dream? Want to go far? Then we must go together. This is the human condition; we only achieve great things with each other’s support.

Community is like a tailwind to your goals.

In your lifelong pursuit of athleticism, you will need to rely on the support and accountability of others. You will contribute to their journey as they contribute to yours. This kind of community takes work. Connect your training to your relationships. Invest in others’ successes. Build a community around your athletic goals, and you will replace inertia with momentum. Community is crucial to reaching your highest athletic potential.

#5 Resolution - Intention

Photo Credit: Fred Marmsater

Implementing your resolutions will take a subtle but immensely powerful lifestyle shift. You will learn to bring intention and purpose to the way you spend your time, and you learn to own the moment. In the context of training, this means that you bring the same purposeful mindset to every moment you train.

This is your last resolution: Train hard, do your very best – every day. You give your all for whatever time you have, in whatever state you are in. Only do your best; if you can’t do that, do something else.

When you step into your dojo or lace up your shoes, you make this pact with yourself. I give all of myself to this work for whatever time. I’m all in. You respect that your best isn’t always the same, but what you have, you give – every day.

Take the First Step

Carve out 10 minutes of quiet mind space today and use it to connect the dots between your athletic goals and your life purpose. Ask yourself why achieving your athletic goals matters.

How do these goals enable me to become the person I want to be? Explore this question for yourself and hold onto the answers – they will fuel the fire of transformation.