Goals are a very popular topic. We read advice on how to set them and then how to achieve them. There is less talk, though, about what happens once we get to our destination. Perhaps this is because the likelihood of achieving those goals is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, eventually, with enough effort and knowledge, you will arrive at the point of success.
Once you have accomplished a long-held objective, the moment may be great. It may, however, not be everything you hoped it would be. The results may not feel like what you anticipated. Moreover, after that, there is always the question of what happens next. Do you fill the void with another project? You will have to consider whether you go on with a new phase of that project or if that one is complete, take on a different one.
In any case, reaching a goal is a box full of learning. With the accomplishment comes not just a sense of achievement but also many valuable lessons. Taking the time to reflect and look back over everything that happened can help you gain even more out of the entire experience.
After You Have Achieved Your Goal
The Accomplishment Might Seem Anticlimactic
Sometimes reaching a long-term goal is joyous. You celebrate, and you feel elated. If this is the case, take it in and bathe in the feelings of accomplishment. Those moments in life are not a daily occurrence, and you shouldn’t overlook them. Enjoy any happy moments as they arrive.
Other times, however, it may feel as though the achievement of something you have worked hard for is not as great as you had imagined. It might even seem anticlimactic. There can be a sense of emptiness at the end after all the work and struggle, and you may even miss the effort. These feelings are also valid and do not change your achievement.
The Struggle is Part of the Fun
In retrospect, all the effort is exciting and makes life fulfilling. Even if it doesn’t feel that way when we are going through the motions, the hard work is part of the fun. It gives life traction, and it feels real. We are engaged in life and with others. You may miss the feeling of working hard toward something once it’s over because it makes us feel energetic. Developing that muscle of effort and using it is rewarding.
Have Many Parallel Goals
Because the achievement might leave you feeling with a sense of emptiness, I recommend always having concurrent plans. As one objective is coming to fruition, another might be starting, and a third might be well on its way. Other times, the initial accomplishment may be one phase of a longer-term plan. Furthermore, to keep growing, once you reach an objective, you may wish to challenge yourself to the next level. So, if you ran a half-marathon, immediately sign up for the next level: a marathon.
Keep a Journal of the Journey
As you are working towards your goal, you can journal about your journey. When you write, be as honest as you can about the challenges you are facing and even how they make you feel. Journaling will help you gain clarity around your thoughts and ideas as you try to find your way.
Then, when you have accomplished your goal, you can look back and appreciate everything you achieved. As you are reading your notes, you will remember where you were one or more years ago. There is no better voice to help you remember than your own as you described your challenges.
Take the time to learn from your experiences. Your journaling can help you identify key events and decisions that helped you achieve your objective. Failures are very instructive, but you can also find nuggets of information in successes.
What worked and what didn’t?
What did you change to help you achieve a better result?
How would you do things differently in the future?
Why did the accomplishment feel the way it did? Did I remember to pause to celebrate?
How can I enjoy the journey more?
Lingering to reflect will serve you well as you move forward toward achieving your goals and expanding your career.