Which Path Will Your Fitness Journey Take You?

Hustle Fitness

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Many have taken these lines of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken as a call to bravely beat their own paths. To be sure, it’s an inspirational philosophy: we can be successful by bucking the trend and following our own heart. However, reading the poem in it’s entirety imparts a different interpretation to me, namely that this poem is a call for us to take decisive steps toward reaching our goals.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

So, what’s Frost talking about? As so often happens in life, a traveler has come to a fork in the road and must decide which direction to take.  Afraid of choosing wrongly, she weighs the pros and cons. She looks down the paths to see where they lead and considers their wear and tear, hoping the choice will become clear. Neither path is obviously better than the other though, so she is forced to step up and make a decision.

Like the indecisive traveler, we are presented with multiple paths to our goals and the best choice may not be obvious. We are often faced with the difficult task of making a decision between two seemingly viable options. Uncertain, we procrastinate, hoping that the choice will be clarified for us. Uncertainty is a powerful emotion and it is so easy to obsess about the possible negative outcomes of our choices and to let this uncertainty prevent us from taking action. But, inaction is itself a decision: a decision to do nothing.

The thing is, we can’t do nothing and still expect to reach our goals. Inaction, whether caused by uncertainty or fear, is usually the reason of our failure to make any headway towards our destination. This is what I think Frost was getting at – the key to reaching our goals is not to make the best decision at every fork in the road, it is just having the strength to always make a decision!

We might, while starting a new program, feel out of our depth. We might feel lost or incapable or silly. But faced with this hardship, we must make the choice to continue on. Exercising, no matter how ineffective, is always better than not exercising. The point of a worthwhile goal is not for us to achieve that goal, but to impel us to become the people we need to be to achieve that goal. The roads that we take must be filled with difficult decisions, because confronting these difficulties is what makes us grow and become worthy of the achievement. It is not the medal we receive at the end of a marathon, nor how good we look in the mirror, that we should be proud of, but our hard choices and hard work along the way.

Making tough decisions is what separates the traveler who stands at the fork in the road, and the traveler who gets where she’s going. The most effective step we can take toward our goals is to confront our fear and uncertainty, and take action in spite of them. There will always be a fork in the road – which path will you take?