One Million Meters……Then What?
Written by Michele Vieux
One of my favorite clients recently asked me about how I set goals and when. We often have these philosophical conversations and I enjoy the questions he usually poses. He is currently in the process of rowing one million meters and is concerned about losing steam when he’s finished.
In our chat, we both agreed that the process and journey of reaching your goals is challenging AND half the fun. Then, when you achieve your goal, you feel GREAT but usually that feeling only lasts a few days and then you feel a little lost since you no longer have something you’re working toward.
We were chatting about it because he was trying to decide if he wanted to choose his next adventure before finishing the million meters so he could go right into the next training cycle for a new goal.
As a former competitive athlete who has had to rein it in in recent years, I have a broad perspective on types of goals and how and when I set them. For me, personally, I like to finish one, savor the moment, try a few new things, then set a new one. I usually give myself a week to a month after achieving one goal before I select a new one. Since I’m no longer competing, I have the luxury of not knowing what’s next. There are no competitions on the calendar and nothing that I HAVE to do. I’m betting most of you reading this are in a similar position as me. Sometimes this is a curse, but it can also be a blessing. Why?
I believe this allows you to stay focused and in the moment. You’re supposed to be enjoying the journey, not thinking about your next big adventure!
If you’re working on one goal and are already thinking about what to do next, you aren’t giving your full attention to your current project. I know your mind is wandering while you’re rowing that million meters but you should be thinking about your posture, breathing, stroke and when to push versus hold some back so that you can row the most perfect million meters possible and learn more about your athletic strengths and weaknesses.
You never know what could happen. What if, during your million meter row, you decide you want to improve your max rep sit-ups in two minutes as your next goal so that you can do more than you did when you were in boot camp but you’re so busy thinking about that while you row that you slip off the erg and fracture your tail bone? Now you can’t row or do sit-ups and you just crushed two dreams at once. It could happen…see my story below.
Savor the moment you achieve your goal. It might only be for a couple days but you did it! And you deserve to enjoy the accolades. Share your accomplishment with friends and family. Get some pats on the back – you earned them!
While you are savoring those back pats, mess around with new and different activities. Give your mind and body a break from being so focused on your goal. Maybe you’ll discover that next, new passion which could be something you would have never thought of or tried while you were in your previous training cycle. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from being so serious. Play more!
As many of you know, I’ve struggled with injuries for the past few years from being so hard on my body when I was young. Recently, after a knee surgery and lengthy rehab, I started feeling pretty good about myself and set a goal of doing an Olympic Lifting meet, only to have that crushed, by myself, for adding in an additional goal of front squatting more than Lil’ Fish (Lauren Fisher). I ended up hurting myself and couldn’t do the meet. Total bummer and that feeling was much more anticlimactic than what I’ve felt from any post-goal achievement. After a few weeks of puttering and playing around, I set my new goal – to obtain the strongest, most stable shoulder girdle possible. I wanted someone to compliment me on my posture without them knowing I was working on it. Check. It happened. And now I’m back to puttering while I decide on my next big adventure and I’m totally fine with that.