I hate scales. And they're everywhere, looming quietly but conspicuously nearly everywhere I go. There's one in my bathroom at home, in the locker room at the gym, even at the club where I play golf. Each one stares at me, calls my name (I swear!), dares me to step onto the little platform and learn my fate. But I don't.

Not that I haven't. Several months ago I did a cleanse, added a nutrient rich shake to my diet regimen, and lost 15 pounds. I looked better, felt great, and was re-energized. Since then I've probably stepped on the scale maybe four times, to see whether I was staying within my new weight range. But I haven't done so in weeks.

Because I refuse to be fixated on a number. Instead, I simply see how my clothes fit, how I feel.

Too many people get trapped by "How much do I weigh?" They do things that are not good for their bodies, like skipping meals or over training. A friend who also did the cleanse was so pleased with her weight loss that she weighed herself several times a day out of fear that she might have gained a pound or two. I told her, "Step away from the scale. You'll make yourself crazy."

She wasn't using the weight loss as an opportunity to develop a fit, healthy lifestyle that would allow her to feel good and look good, no matter the number on the scale. She was obsessed, instead, with a number.

But a number cannot measure success. Not on a scale, not anywhere. Neither can a job title, or a position of status in your church or another organization. Not our height or the size of our bi's, tri's, and thighs. Or whatever.

Just as being fixated by a number on a scale can distract you from enjoying your physical progress and maintaining a smart lifestyle, being focused on the other numbers in our lives distracts us from enjoying everyday life and reaching new goals. It deprives us of the satisfaction of enjoying the small victories, and makes us fret too much over the little defeats. Ultimately, it stifles us.

Oh, you should stay competitive. Keep stoking the fire that drives you toward new goals, new levels of achievement in the gym, in your relationships, in your career. You wouldn't be reading this magazine if you didn't desire to get fitter, stronger, faster, better. We love that.

But goals—whether weight loss or financial—shouldn't be the end game. Think about what you're learning along the way. Think about what you're learning about yourself, about how you're testing yourself, stretching yourself, challenging yourself.

Whether you reach your exact goal or fall a bit short, that knowledge will make you feel ecstatic about your new self and take you further than you know.

Roy S. Johnson
Men's Fitness
Editor In Chief