We all know goal setting is important, but why do we set goals?
I mean aside from the obvious, “to get things done” or to achieve your most meaningful aspirations, goal setting’s value can be summed up in one word: motivation.
Goals are the fuel on the fire of ambition that drives us forwards. Along the road to success, goal setting should be a necessity, not an option.
What is the Red Bull 400?
The Red Bull 400 race is an all-out sprint straight up a 400M Olympic Ski Jump. Sound easy? It’s not.
This race, although it’s short in duration and distance, tests the world’s best athletes in a way that few other events can. In just 400M, competitors climb the equivalent of a 45-story building at an incline of 37 degrees. It’s a lung-scorching, muscle-exploding, anaerobic grind. Competitors finish the race anywhere between 4-14 minutes.
My goal: Make it to the top before my legs give out.
The event has been at the top of my list of physical goals for the last three years. Since my spinal cord injury, I’ve set my sights on challenging goals like the Wings For Life World Run (an endurance race where you see how far you can run) and the RB400 race to keep fueling my ambition to push my new physical limits.
Living with a spinal cord injury is not easy (understatement of the century). If you are lucky like I was to regain the motor-ability in your body (your ability to use your muscles), the muscles don’t fire like they used to and with limited feeling in my legs, balance and coordination becomes a chore. Few actions are automatic anymore, mobility requires conscious thought, and to top it all off if you stop working on your strength your muscles begin to deteriorate and atrophy very quickly.
Red Bull 400’s value to me is far more profound than the exhilarating endorphins I anticipated I would enjoy if I finished the race. The short-term motivation to push for an extra rep in the gym or to take on an extra workout when all you feel like doing is giving in has been paramount. The long-term motivation of working towards something bigger than myself has also been fundamentally important.
Have you ever heard the words, “once an athlete, always an athlete”? Well, it’s not true.
Sure there are some traits that you take with you after an athletic career, but it’s easy to stop being an athlete. You just stop. Athletes have to work hard at being athletes. Even “natural” athletes (the talented ones) have to work hard at achieving their goals if they want to perform consistently and succeed. For any self-proclaimed ‘non-athletes’ out there, when you set a goal, it requires hard work too. You should know, by committing to an intention and going for it with your full effort, you are closer to your inner athlete than you might expect.
Moral of this story, if you set goals, you will achieve more than you expect. Goals are a necessity, not an option. When you set your goals, trust that you are capable of more than you think you are and that you can do more than you think you can do. And oh yeah, make sure you aim high.