A few thoughts about goals

October 20th… that’s the day I’m taking off my shirt and standing on a stage in front of several hundred people to be judged (if you don’t know, I’m participating in a physique show).

Preparing for this contest has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. 20 weeks of strict diet with hard core training have gone into preparation for that day. Over 30 pounds lost, clothes that no longer fit, people wondering if I’m sick, packing meals when my family goes to Moes Restaurant, saying “No” to ice cream sandwiches, etc. During this training I’ve almost broke emotionally and physically several times, but the power of a goal (and an awesome wife!) has kept me in the game.

Here are a few thoughts about goals:

1) Because there is a deadline (i.e. a goal) I know there is a point at which the pain of this process stops.

It is possible to do anything if you know there’s an end to it! The end, in this case, is the show… October 20th! The power of an end (i.e. a goal) keeps me putting one foot in front of the other when I’m gasping for air and doubled over on the stairclimber!

I’m pretty sure I neither could nor would make the lifestyle of the last 20 weeks a permanent way of life… but I know the goal line is in sight… so I keep going, and when I stand on the stage on October 20th, I’ll look back at the last 4 months and say, “It was worth every second of pain.”

2) I can see the changes in my body/mind/spirit as a result of the steps taken to get to the goal. And I realize that the process of getting there is more significant than being there!

These are changes that NEVER would have happened had I not been working towards October 20th. The diet, the habits developed, the discipline of working through pain and hunger, the discipline of saying “no”, the shape of my stomach, etc. All of these are the result of showing up day after day after day after day. None of these things are now mine because of October 20th but because of the journey towards October 20th.

3) The goal has eliminated peripheral activity and insisted on a laser-tight focus.

When I walk into the gym I walk in with purpose. My plan for the day has been written down several days before hand. I know what I’m going to do: what exercises, how many sets, and a good idea of how many reps. I know I’m going to take my body to the point of failure many times during the course of my workout. I know how long I will be in the gym. I know when I’m done I will be sick or close to it. I know I’m not going to do a lot of “friendly banter” when I’m training. I know all of this because I have a goal… everything is focused around October 20th… diet, exercise, conversation in the gym, etc.

4) The goal has given me new drive.

I have a saying that I repeat to myself while working out: “Someone on that stage is working harder than me… BUT NOT TODAY!” It drives me to know that I will be competing against guys who are younger, stronger, more experienced, better financed, etc. The one thing I can bring to the table is a commitment to hard work and rigorous attention to diet. The goal drives me to work harder!

The crazy thing is that this drive is not limited to the show. I also feel new initiative in other areas of my life (e.g. our drive to be debt free, etc.).

There’s more of course but this post is getting lengthy so I’m going to cut it off for today.

But I’d love to hear from you! What goals have you set? How has having a goal changed you?

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