So often I was asked “what next?” or “will you keep hiking post Kokoda?” and thankfully I had already put a lot of thought into this as I knew the ‘post-goal blues’ are a real thing!
What I’ve learnt over the last year or so is that setting and working towards a goal is one thing, but to keep that motivation up we need to be looking further past when we know we will achieve the goal. This keeps us from thinking the achievement is the end and helps to make our training, routines, habits into a lifestyle change not just a ‘for the moment’ change.
Is this hard, hell yes! Post Kokoda my body has taken a good 3 weeks to ‘feel normal’ again, to not want to be catching up on sleep, feeling sore, sick, tired, emotional and mentally that no one understands what I’ve been through (bar those who were on the track with me, and I know they know what I went through).
So it got me thinking and what I decided to do pre Kokoda was set a mini goal and that is to support Kate Massey as she raises funds for Cure Cancer and treks up Mt Kosciuszko 4x at the end of November, and then when I got back I also booked myself a bed in Mueller Hut so that whilst I’m in New Zealand over Christmas I know at minimum I’ll do an amazing two day hike at Mt Cook (fingers crossed the weather behaves!).
I had heard it before that we need to make sure we Celebrate our success, Reflect and Share our knowledge, and importantly be Kind to ourselves, so what did I do and what can I share?
Celebrate our Success
This doesn’t have to be a huge event, I enjoyed a gin and tonic after the trek with the team and then once back in Australia spent time with a friend, booked a massage to help my body repair and then popped around the corner to get a tattoo, not specifically for Kokoda but for me the meaning behind it is about the mountains I love, have climbed and will climb, so this will help me to remind myself that there are many more adventures to achieve. Spend time with friends, sure they won’t fully understand and you likely won’t be able to articulate what you went through, but they will love the stories and photos and especially as they have likely have been there along the way putting up with your wins, doubts, fears, and always with encouragement.
Reflect on the Journey
Whilst on the track at the end of each night I would write my thoughts, fears, what went well and stories from the day, this helps so much as the days go by fast and before you know it you’re 3 weeks post achieving the goal and wondering, what happened on day 2? So, I wrote, and this writing at the end of each day was like therapy, it then enabled me when I was home to complete a ‘live blog 3 weeks later’ and to relive the experience, if others read it great! But really I did it for myself as a continual lesson in discipline and celebrating my achievement.
Sharing thoughts out there into the world is something that comes easy to me, actually I find it easier than sharing how I’m feeling with friends, so to write, share a photo, engage with a stranger as they are about to embark on a journey I’ve been on, or with someone who has been on a similar journey so they can give me advice is valuable. To hit this goal I had so many questions and I sought out people who could help alleviate the fears, give advice and afterwards I went back to those same people post achievement, as I knew they would understand what I was feeling. So whether is a fitness, business, financial or any other experience, share, share, and share some more, as it will make the world a better place.
Kindness and Self Love
Being kind to yourself along the journey, taking time out to look back on what has been achieved to date, spending time with your support network and thanking them for being there as you embark on this adventure, as if you’re anything like me, you’re probably driving them crazy! It reminds me of a Kokoda info night I went to when Jim, the Director of Back Track Adventures, said the following to me. This was very valid as 4 weeks out I sprained my ankle and had to chill out, I couldn’t train like I had been and normally that would send me into a spiral, but I kept his words close and knew I’d be ok.
“Do the training and mental work, then relax and health and well-being will come .”
Jim Drapes, Back Track Adventures
My main thought on avoiding the post goal blues, is to keep focussed on why you set the goal, have clear objectives and set those mini goals to keep focussed beyond the achievement. It’s a great feeling and one that needs to be shared to inspire others to achieve what they might be scared to give a go.
So embrace the potential for post goal blues as it means something massive has just happened and that is the best thing! Now is the time… Get out and do it.