Goals are great — they help us work harder and strive for things that may not come easily. Goals are present in all aspects of our life, from professional to personal. I’m sure you can think of several goals over your lifetime that you’ve set and (hopefully) achieved. Even if you fail in achieving your goal, it’s a learning experience and may actually add fuel to the fire to try harder to achieve it in the future.
With the amount of time that it sometimes takes to reach a goal, it can be tough once you actually get there. Suddenly you’re faced with a lack of direction and not sure what your next steps are going forward.
In order to preempt those feelings, here are some thoughts on what you should do after achieving your goal.
Take some time to appreciate your goal
Achieving your goal may leave you with feelings of “what next?” After working towards something for a period of time, not having to put in that same level of work can be jarring to your routine.
Before leaping into another project or goal, make sure to take some time to appreciate the work you’ve put in and what you’ve accomplished. It can be easy to try and move on to the next thing, but take time to internalize reaching your goal.
Look for something new
For me, my first big fitness goal was to run a half marathon. I trained for three months and was able to run 13.1 miles — something I never thought I would do in my fitness life. Once the race was over, however, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing. I didn’t know if I should keep running or try something different.
Ultimately, I did a little bit of both. I continued to run because I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t training for anything in particular. I went back to the gym and worked on weight training as well so that I could challenge different muscles that weren’t always utilized during runs.
Evaluate how you feel after you reach your goal — does your body need a change of pace or are you happy doing what you have been doing? Challenge yourself to try something new but don’t be afraid to continue what you’re doing if you truly enjoy it.
Set a different goal
It might seem like a natural progression to go from training for a half marathon to a full one, but I had no interest in pushing myself to run 26.2 miles. For some people it’s a lifelong goal, but I’m happy maxing out at 13.1.
Over the next couple years I ran three more half marathons and set similar goals. For one I wanted to run it a little faster, but really for each I just wanted to be able to finish. It’s a difficult distance for me, so every time I crossed a finish line, I felt accomplished.
Ask yourself if there are different goals you want to set for yourself. Maybe your goal would be to run a full marathon. Maybe you’ve been able to learn headstands in yoga and you want to progress to a handstand. Think about something you can work towards and what it would take for you to get there.
Strive for ways to better yourself over time, whether in your personal or professional life.