When you set goals, you should set both long-term and short-term goals. Each short-term goal is like a rung on a ladder. You can’t get to the top without successfully climbing each rung. The bottom rung is just as important as the final rung. As you climb, you learn. If you have never climbed this ladder before, each step unveils new things – the creaks, the bend in the ladder, the width of each rung, and other little nuances. In turn, you adjust your step, your climbing technique in order to make your climb more efficient and effective. As you reach the final rung, you have learned and improved a great deal since you stepped on the first rung even though you followed your original plan. From the top you can now look down and realize how far you have come and how many little steps you had to take to get to this point.
The same is true of your goals. You have to go through the motion, do the work, and in doing so learn what each step has to offer. The great thing about reaching each little goal is it acts like a snowball rolling downhill, it builds momentum, size and strength. For example, I am currently one week out from stepping onstage again. I have been focused on this for a year. I knew a year ago I would compete at this competition and have planned accordingly. For the better part of 20 weeks I have sharpened that focus and detailed more and more aspects of that plan. Each week of eating, training, cardio revealed certain things which then helped me plan the next phase. I would change things as needed, but all within the larger realm of meeting my goal to be at my best ever when I stepped on stage again. These past 4-6 weeks have been nothing but intense as the focus continues to improve, the attention to detail becomes greater and more precise, and the momentum has built to a frightening pitch. I could not have started at this point 20 weeks ago. Much like the ladder, I knew where I wanted to go, but I had to start from the first rung. I couldn’t jump or skip any rungs and start two-thirds of the way up. It just wouldn’t work.
Our goals and reaching those goals are a process. When it comes to nutrition and fitness our goals evolve and the details become clearer and more precise as we continually put ourselves through the work. The more we do, the more we learn. It is the actions that make us stronger and wiser. Thinking and planning is important but we must go through the experience of doing in order to make the greatest gains. As we go through the process our motivation increases, we gather momentum, until we become like a speeding train flying down the track. A strong, wise, and highly efficient speeding train with a clear sight of our path ahead and a “no stopping until we get there” attitude kind of train.
As you contemplate, monitor and adjust your own fitness and eating goals remember it is a process. Much like climbing a ladder you must climb each step, which is an achievement on its own, but with each step you are building confidence, results, and momentum which will propel you to the top of that ladder with greater agility and skill than you knew you had in you when you started!
Stay the course. Reach your goals. Enjoy the process.