Goals and Motivation: Thoughts from the Founder of LOU CBD
Looking at our facade, we are an online storefront that sells hemp products. However, our mission is to build something much greater. If you are reading our content, we may share the same hunger: a desire to constantly question what the next step is, in order to most effectively move towards our goals.
In this article, I hope to provide some personal insights on how we can stay motivated through the ups and downs that modern life seems to constantly throw at us.
We All Have Goals
All of us have goals and desires. Whether it is financial freedom, improved fitness, spending more time with family, or simply a sense of balance, we all have something we want. The problem we often find ourselves facing is that we spend all of our time setting goals that we want to achieve, but we fail to make a reasonable and actionable plan to get there.
In the past year, as my goals have become loftier than ever, I’ve found myself in a state of disenchantment as I get closer and closer to what I want to achieve. I stayed so focused on reaching my goals that I wasn’t taking time to enjoy the journey.
Let me explain with an example.
315 Pound Bench Press
As a weightlifter, I have always had the goal of bench pressing 315 pounds. For those of you who don’t lift weights, 315 pounds is three 45-plates on an olympic bar. In addition to actually being heavy, 315 pounds looks really heavy and impressive.
In the past, I was motivated primarily by my ego – desperate for a nod of approval and respect from the stronger men at my gym. Staying focused on that number, I would get closer and closer to the goal. After weeks of employing various strategies, my strength would increase but I would eventually hit a plateau and my motivation would peter out. Fast forward five years, I was still sitting at the same strength of about 250-275 pounds on this lift.
Deconstructing Your Goals
Then, I decided to deconstruct and dissect this goal. First and foremost, I found that my motivations were superficial. Wanting to achieve something great solely for the approval of others will never be enough to propel you to the top. Be true to yourself and make certain that your pursuits are not shallow. You first have to want things for yourself.
I found an emotional connection to my desire, which was that I wanted to be stronger so that I could learn how to educate others to do the same. Within that, I mapped out a plan focused on enjoying and celebrating the small successes that achieving my larger goals could be built upon.
Previously, I set the expectation that I would increase my bench press by five to ten pounds a week. Those of you who are experienced in weight training understand how laughable that is.
Some weeks I would succeed and some weeks I would find myself weaker than the previous training session. After many weeks of ups and downs and being so enveloped by my feelings of weakness, I would allow my focus to drift towards other lifts that I am naturally more gifted in.
Learning to Focus on the Journey
Eventually, I set a new approach of trying to increase my bench press by 2.5 pounds a week. I made the mental commitment to not worry about a certain number. Rather, I would just focus on this small increase every week. Within that, I made it a point to give myself praise not only when I accomplished this goal but also the weeks that my strength stayed the same.
I found that so many external factors can impact the rate at which we move forward. You must celebrate not only getting to the next step but the fact that you were trying to get better.
Slowly but surely, I edged closer to my goal.
Through the process I gained much more personal satisfaction as I learned to celebrate the little accomplishments rather than dwell on my distance from the overarching objective.
Full disclosure, I haven’t made it there yet as I am now recovering from cracked ribs due to a foray into downhill mountain biking, but that is a story for another day. The point is simply this: you must learn to focus on the journey and find enjoyment in the little accomplishments along the way.
Trying is more than half the battle
We can’t expect to move forward every day, but can still celebrate the fact that we are trying.
It is when we fail to pat ourselves on the back every once in a while that the appeal of binging Netflix becomes more savory than moving towards our greater selves.
Looking back at my younger self, I can accredit many of my accomplishments to being discontent. Although I don’t regret having such discontentment spurring me forward, I do regret allowing that discontentment to make me unhappy as I have struggled with bouts of depression over the years.
I now have learned that being discontent is one of my greatest strengths, but I can change the way that it impacts my mental state. Embrace the notion that you can be discontent and happy at the same time. Enjoy the journey and each day that you get to move towards your goal. Celebrate the wins no matter how small and realize that trying to move forward is just as commendable as moving forward.
-Kyle, Founder, LOU CBD