What Now? How to Proceed After You Reach Your Goals

Congratulations! You’ve accomplished one of your goals. Maybe it was a weight loss goal or a new PR in the gym. In all likelihood you’ve invested countless hours of hard work and a hefty amount of the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears to get where you are it. All of that dedication and hard fought effort makes the accomplishment taste all that much sweeter. For some reason though, as you bask in the glory of achievement, you can’t help but wonder, what now?

This dilemma is common, particularly in the health and fitness industry. This is why you hear cliched phrases like, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” This sentiment only becomes relevant if you know why you are on the journey in the first place. Once you find that overarching reason for change then each goal you set and achieve is another destination along that journey, and it becomes perfectly okay to focus on that destination, knowing full well that you will continue visiting new and exciting places along your journey.

Often times, even knowing that achieving your goal was not a simple “point A” to “point B” trip does not make deciding where to go next any easier, especially if it’s taken you significant time to get to where you are. Taking months or even years to achieve something can leave you sort of lost once it happens. So what do you do when you hit a goal?

First, takes some well deserved time to celebrate. You did the work. Enjoy the achievement.  Just not too much. It’s one thing to deservedly celebrate an accomplishment, it’s another to rest on your laurels for months (or years). All too many times, especially when it comes to health and fitness, you hear of people that stop the behavior that got them to their goal. They were content to just hit the goal, and next thing you know that weight they strived so hard to lose has found it’s way back on.

Instead, as you celebrate take some time to reflect on the process of achieving that goal. What did you learn along the way? How did it make you feel? Did it somehow change your perspective on life? Perhaps it drummed up a new sense of purpose.

These questions will get you closer to your “Why,” that underlying sense of purpose for undertaking the journey you are on. Without your “why” it can become difficult to know where to go next, but not impossible. Sometimes you simply know that you need to do something different. That need causes action. That action takes you to a new destination. Then you repeat the cycle of reflection and pursuit of a new goal.

In some cases it won’t take much reflection to figure out where to go to next. I find this the case with setting PRs.  There’s always more weight to lift or reps to do so it’s simply a matter of choosing a new number and getting after it again. The only issue with this approach is that we all know there is a physical ceiling on how much you can improve a particular lift, and the closer you get to that ceiling the harder it becomes to make progress. If you have a strong enough why to continue pushing your limits further, I say go for it, but for many of us it may be worth exploring other options.

Let’s say you just spent six months working up to a double bodyweight deadlift. You could immediately start pursuit of a two and a half times bodyweight deadlift, or you could explore another lift and shoot for a PR in that (that’s if your awesome new deadlift PR didn’t already bleed new strength into your other lifts and create a cascade of PRs). There is always the possibility of staying on the same path, just climbing higher, or there is the possibility of pivoting, and exploring a new path.

The only word of caution here is to not try and explore too many other paths at once. If you set too many divergent goals and you try to chase them all at once you may not make progress toward any of them. If you have an overarching goal or “why” choose something that is in line with that. For me, achieving my RKC certification was a major goal. It made sense to set a mini goal within that quest of snatching a 24kg kettlebell 50 times in five minutes since that was one of the requirements I was tested on. It did not make sense to focus on hitting a double bodyweight back squat so that goal got put on the back burner.

As you take a step back and contemplate your next destination there are a couple approaches that can help you make your decision. You can choose the one thing you are most passionate about. Passion is fuel and as you undertake that journey having a good fuel source can make staying on track that much easier.

Another option is to pick the goal that is most beneficial to you.  It may not be the sexiest goal or even something you particularly want to do, but you know that it is something you should do because of the potential rewards, and that it will help you fulfill your why.

Here we are back at why. As I’ve alluded to the “why” represents the journey of your life. While that why may change as you age and gain new life experiences and perspectives, you should be constantly moving along to different destinations (i.e. goals) during that journey. You can choose to visit as many or as few locales as long as you keep moving toward the next one, no matter how long it takes you.

While I will regret the years I spent “lost” in my own life, I know there is plenty of time left to enjoy the journey I’m on. There is time to set goals, achieve them, and set more goals. Some may take days and some may take years, but each and every destination should be enjoyed along the way. Knowing that each one is not the final stop can be liberating in a big picture sense.

It will allow you to give yourself permission to set those goals and achieve everything you want in life. It opens up a lifetime of continuous improvement, and that just may be the most rewarding thing of all.

Burpee Breakdown Finisher
Pull, Push, and Swing Workout

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *