Becoming More Than Your Goal

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

I am a big fan of Zig Ziglar.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Mr. Ziglar is a motivational speaker.  I almost always find something valuable and useful in what he has to offer, and have collected his quotes for years.

This is one quote that I find particularly intriguing:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Why, you may ask, did this particular sentiment resonate with me? My best guess is that as a bodybuilder, I am always focused on what I am going to get by achieving the goals I have set for myself in the gym.  This motivates me to push through discomfort and fatigue in the name of something concrete: larger biceps, a stronger back, defined triceps, or whatever the goal may be at any point in time.  However, prior to reading this quote, I had never taken into consideration what I was becoming in the process.

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When we enter the gym with a single goal in mind, only to achieve that goal and move forward to set a new one, we are chasing an elusive place of satisfaction for which a finish line may not exist.  Goal after goal, muscle after muscle, additional strength…all of these entities are very important, as is the feeling of success that accompanies the achievement.

However, take a step back and ponder how you may have evolved as an individual as a result of the process toward achieving your goal. Perhaps you developed confidence that had been lacking. Your sense of self-efficacy may have blossomed. Maybe you found yourself smiling and greeting each day in a more positive frame of mind. Your willingness to help others achieve goals may have increased.  You might have even found yourself setting goals in a completely new realm.

Is such a transformation possible simply in a quest for bigger quadriceps?  Often the greatest gifts are the ones not visible when we look in a mirror.  Whether it is a fitness-related goal you are striving to achieve, or a promotion at work, or a better relationship with your partner, what happens along the way is often more valuable and longer-lasting than the goal itself.  Keep this is mind as you set out to live the best possible life you can.  Strive for and reach those goals…and embrace the rewards that manifest within.