As humans, we are natural goal-setters. We thrive on challenges and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with reaching our targets. This is especially true when it comes to physical goals. Whether it's running a marathon, achieving a certain weight, or mastering a difficult yoga pose, setting goals can be highly motivating. However, I've come to realize that while goal setting can be beneficial in the beginning, it can also limit our true abilities if we become too fixated on the end result.
Setting physical goals can be incredibly empowering. They provide direction, structure, and a clear path to follow. When we set goals, we create a roadmap that guides us through the process of self-improvement. Goals help us push through obstacles, stay motivated, and measure our progress along the way. They provide a sense of purpose and drive, giving us something to work towards. Without goals, we might find ourselves aimlessly wandering, lacking the focus and determination needed to make real progress.
While goals can be a great starting point, they can also become restrictive if we don't approach them with an open mind. Sometimes, we fixate so much on achieving a specific goal that we fail to recognize the potential we have beyond it. We get caught up in the idea of reaching a particular milestone and, inadvertently, put a cap on our true abilities. Our minds become fixated on the end result, and we may stop once we achieve the goal, even though our bodies are capable of so much more. David Goggins discussed in his book Can't Hurt Me, that when we think we're at our limit, we're really only at about 40% of our true potential.
Over time, I began to realize that the real magic lies in embracing the journey, rather than fixating solely on the outcome. Instead of being solely focused on reaching a specific goal, I started paying attention to how my body felt during the process. I learned to listen to its cues, to push myself when I could, and to rest when necessary. I started celebrating the small victories and milestones along the way, recognizing that progress is not always linear.
By shifting my mindset and embracing the process, I discovered the immense potential within myself. I found that my body was capable of going further, lifting heavier, and enduring longer than I had ever imagined. I broke free from the self-imposed limitations of my goals and allowed myself to explore new possibilities. I began to appreciate the journey itself and the growth it brought, rather than being solely focused on the end result.
During the pool portion of my Breath Strength Mind workshops, the participants do a variety of movements while holding their breath underwater. While performing these movements, most people will use the wall of the pool as a goal to reach before stopping. However, I tell people to instead of using the wall as a goal, pay attention to what's happening inside their body. Once you reach the edge of the pool, assess how you feel, and if you can touch the wall and turn around to keep going, then keep going! Even if they only turned around and made it another 3 seconds, that's still 3 more seconds farther than if they stopped at the wall.
The same things applies in other scenarios such as the sauna and ice bath. When first starting, having a goal of 15 minutes in the sauna and 3 minutes in the ice bath is a great goal. But once you become familiar with how your body reacts, it's good to test yourself by paying more attention to how your body feels instead of simply ending the session once the timer goes off.
I recently conducted a sauna/ice session with the crew from Full Foarce. This group of four badass women are training to row across the Pacific in June 2024 and on this voyage they will be put through a variety of physical and mental struggles that will test their mental toughness. So during our session, I had them sit in the sauna without a timer and simply pay attention to how their body felt and the emotions they experienced. And believe me, when you're sitting in a sauna at 210 degrees, there is all kinds of emotions that arise! However, all of them were able to push past that 15 minute timer because they listened to their bodies. Yes, it was uncomfortable. Yes, it sucked. But they were still safe and able to push themselves even further.
In summary, setting physical goals can indeed be beneficial, providing us with focus and motivation. However, it's essential to remember that goals are not the ultimate destination. They are merely signposts along our journey of self-improvement. By embracing the process, we can break free from the limitations imposed by our goals and tap into our true potential. So, let us set ambitious goals, but let us also remain open to the endless possibilities that lie beyond them.
Want to build your own mental toughness and push your limits? Join my online Breath Strength Mind Masterclass where you'll learn how to built more grit and resilience in 2024. Now through January 1, 2024, you can join the Masterclass at 40% off. Use code "HOLIDAY40" at checkout.