As an athlete growing up, goals have always been an important aspect of my life. While participating in gymnastics at a young age, goals included learning new tumbling moves or routines. In high school, running track and cross country soon consumed a significant portion of my life. I was constantly on a mission to improve upon my race times, place higher, or set a new personal best for myself.
Throughout our younger years, we have goals set for us in school. A grading scale is essentially a built-in way of telling us if we did well or not. Passing classes, earning degrees, seeing letters behind our names: all checkmarks of our successes in the academic endeavors we decide to pursue.
Sports and academics can be compared in many parallel ways in this regard. When we emerge from a period of our life where goal setting is the norm and we are motivated by teams, classes, or objective measures of success, the “post-event” effect can be relatively severe.
Bodybuilding was my first post-high school athletic endeavor. The hard work I put in each day in the gym was directly correlated to the muscle I could build, the physique I could shape, and the satisfaction I could find in seeing improvements. This served as my “goal” for quite some time after my high school athletics came to an end.
Once the bodybuilding shows were over, I knew I needed something more objective in nature to focus on. Without a goal in front of you, it is easy to lose direction and focus. Having a plan of attack and setting new goals is vital during this time of transition. I believe a key part of this satisfaction is having a goal that is objective in nature. HOW much weight you are lifting. WHAT marks you can hit at a meet. Improving upon yourself beyond what you see in the mirror. Not only in relation to post-bodybuilding shows, but also following any significant peak in your life.
Goal setting is essential. Furthermore, empowering yourself through improvement is refreshing. Compete in a powerlifting meet, a 5k, or an olympic lifting event. Set goals, no matter how small, and crush them. Just because you have left your former athletics or team behind does not mean you cannot feel like an athlete every day. Find satisfaction in the small victories in life… They are what make up the biggest accomplishments.