How often have you set goals? I want to run a marathon. I want to lose 20lbs. I want to do 100 pushups. Have you ever thought of the motivation behind those goals? Are you trying to achieve something? Are you trying to impress somebody? Are you doing it because everyone else is doing it?
I won a world championship…
I set a huge goal back in 2006. I wanted to win the 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Championship. I had never ridden that long before on my bike but 18 months before the world event I set the goal. I worked it backwards and did all the things right. I got the right people on my team, I trained properly, I had a proper diet. I successfully qualified for worlds and in the end I won the world championship in my age category. Goal accomplished.
…but the satisfaction dissipated very quickly.
I had achieved exactly what I wanted. I got the goal. But the short term elation and joy quickly turned into a low that I didn’t comprehend at the time. Why was I so low? Why was I so sad? Was it because I was actually racing for someone else other than myself? Was it because I didn’t get the recognition from those who I wanted it from? Or was it actually because I didn’t enjoy the journey to becoming a world champion, rather I just wanted the end goal?
It’s all about the journey
Only in the last year or so have I discovered it’s actually about the journey. The journey not only includes your achievements along the way but more importantly the people and relationships along the way too. I witnessed this, but didn’t comprehend it, in prior events in 2006 and 2007, two expedition adventure races where the planning, the training, the journey was so exciting and fun that the end goal at the race didn’t even matter. We finished both races, but more importantly we had a ton of fun fro the day we set out to do the event, to the day we finished the event.
However, last year at RTNX, it was a different story. I wanted a “higher success”. I wanted that elusive TOP 5 finish. I trained for the end, but forgot about things along the way. I forgot about my teammates. I forgot about the journey. In the end, whether it was my pushing or lack of leadership or just plain karma our team ended up dropping out and I was again at an all time low. The relationships weren’t that great following the race and everything seemed out of sorts. Looking back it’s because I didn’t enjoy the journey, instead I only focused on the goal.
Next time you set a goal
Ask yourself a few questions. Why am I setting this goal? What do my steps look like along the goal? Am I going to enjoy each step along the way? Will I make the most of this new journey? The goal can be as simple as buying and enjoying an ice cream cone to a 7 year plot to skydive 24 miles above the earth. Make sure you enjoy the journey. Below is a great video that captures all of this from Alan Watt.