“Body Goals”: Our Unhealthy Obession With Using This Phrase

January 25th, 2017

Type in “body goals” anywhere on social media and you’ll discover numerous pictures of women, either in bikinis or at the gym along with multiple love heart-eye emojis. They’ll have the stereotypical polished look we see all too often online, sculpted “toned” legs, washboard abs, a tiny waist and a desirable ratio of muscle and curves.

I have used this term before in the past, however I have a different perspective on it. I don’t believe the phrase is bad in itself, but the connotations behind it and the types of ‘goals’ I’ve witnessed people aspiring to, seem very dangerous and some-what self-destructive.

In short “body goals” is a term people use to express the type of physique or figure that someone is aspiring to achieve: A goal to have the body that someone else has, or similar to it. Whether it’s Beyonce or Kim Kardashian (good luck there). It’s become a thing.

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I don’t think it’s wrong to admire another woman or man’s body, but I honestly think it’s detrimental to your own mental, and potentially physical health, to strive towards a goal that will never happen. Woah Mel…don’t destroy someone else’s dream, they might be working hard for it. I’m sure, however there are so many factors to take into consideration when it comes to wanting to have the same physical shape as another human being who; has a different genetic make up to you, isn’t your height, has a different diet to yours, may very well have had plastic surgery, uses photo-shop (game changer), is a completely different build to you and most importantly only snaps their best side (do you ever post your first selfie?…Why would they?)

The sole purpose of a “goal” is to reach it.

If there is no way on God’s green earth that you are going to achieve the body of your favourite Instagram fitness model or celebrity, you are not only setting yourself up for failure but punishing yourself. Does anyone remember those penny machines at the bowling alley? (Megabowl in Streatham…RIP, so many memories). In fact let me share the picture:

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Bear with me, this does relate. So this devilish machine will have you thinking that if you slot in one, two or perhaps three of your own coins, that will be enough to push over the coins virtually ready to fall off the ledge. As a child I was so sure that my coins would cause the money to come falling out, I’d keep submitting my coins. I had a lightbulb moment and decided to investigate…Why the hell are these coins not falling out?! I got on my knees and had a look at the ledge underneath. The very edge of the ledge was curved, almost like a bowl. Meaning they were being kept there and it would take a hell of a lot of money or would be virtually impossible, for all of the coins to drop out. I was infuriated – fraud. I lost so many 2pences over that machine.

A goal that is unattainable is not a goal.

A fantasy, maybe, but it’s not something you yourself can obtain – do not put that pressure on yourself, it will ruin you. I’ve been there.

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I’ve seen “ectomorph” females posting up pictures of typically “curvy” models online declaring it’s their goal for the Summer…How? I’ve also witnessed broader women posting up images of petite, athletic women labelled as “body goals”…How?

Why must your body goals be based on everyone under the sun and not you?

I had to unlearn the mindset and thought process that comes with having “body goals” and exchanged it for simply appreciating a range of body shapes and sizes we have all been blessed with, but more importantly I strive for my personal body goals which is the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of me. I don’t know what that looks like, I don’t have pictures of it, but I’m excited to be on this journey which doesn’t constantly remind me that I should look a certain way.

Don’t bully yourself.

Learn to appreciate what others have, but love what you have even more. Your own goals should be ones that are attainable. We often blame the media for being responsible for brainwashing us into thinking we should look a certain way, I still stand by this, but in a day and age where we are part of the media, we can choose who we follow online and what we consume. We must take responsibility for protecting our own self-esteem and in turn I think it will positively influence our outlook on life and more importantly how we see and treat ourselves.

What are your thoughts on the term “body goals”? Would love to know what you think and how you practise self-love and acceptance.

  • SimplySnazzy

    What a refreshing perspective! A well written, informative and encouraging piece, without being “preachy!” I TOTALLY agree with everything you’ve said, except the coin machines that i’d play on back in da days took silver coins! 5p’s, 10p’s, 20p’s & 50p’s – so the stakes where much much higher, and as such and equally like yourself, you can imagine, just how jarring & frustrating that was! Lol!😁

    And you also raised a great point that in todays world, with all the different platforms available, we too, truly are not only a part of the media, but also have the choice of whether or not to follow any individual or organisation that we want!

    But i do believe this “goals” term being used in this way is just a phase and where it is indeed sooooo overused, it too will soon die out, when the next thing comes along, pretty much in the same way that “YOLO” did.

    “YOLO” was so overused, and so contextually used incorrectly and for the most stupid things, that it became some peoples gateway or excuse to just basically have no behaviour! And for the other kind of people misusing it, you couldn’t even take them seriously again! – After they’d say it, you would have to look at them like “really!???🤔😯” That was a “YOLO” moment for you yeah?😕 Ok then!🤐…

    • Melissa Henry

      Haha, thanks for the comment, I never really saw it as a term that could be a phase which is interesting and I hope that’s the case. Glad you liked the read and could relate to the coin machine, damn thing lol x

  • louise henry

    ”I strive for my personal body goals which is the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of me. I don’t know what that looks like, I don’t have pictures of it, but I’m excited to be on this journey which doesn’t constantly remind me that I should look a certain way”

    Definitely hit the nail on the head there. Admiration is fine, but striving to look like someone else is an impossible and unhealthy task. It’s all about striving to be the best versions of ourselves as individuals and it is important for people to find eating habits and fitness regimes that are realistic and personalized.. When we see photos of peoples #bodygoals – we have no idea what their journey has consisted of (months/years of workout regimes, unhealthy diet fads, surgery) we just see the end result! Admire, click ‘like’ if you must and then….move on!! I agree the key is to focus on our own journey. Great read!!! 🙂

    • Melissa Henry

      Thanks Lou! definitely is key to focus on our own journey and agreed, we have no idea about their personal story, thanks for sharing your thoughts x

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