The risks of setting goals too high

I am a week away from possibly achieving a big goal, a monster goal — one I have essentially been working on since 2004.

Ultraman Canada is July 30-31 and Aug. 1.

It has me thinking about many of my friends and clients that have set big goals and the consequences good and bad that can come along with such a thing. I’d like to share a few stories, and talk about a solution.

It is very common for us at the gym to hear about post partum depression.

A woman (or a couple) spend a lot of time waiting for a single event, could be nine months of pregnancy or could be 14 years of trying to get pregnant and then nine months of pregnancy.

Then in the blink of an eye (granted, one to two days of labour may not feel like a blink of an eye, but compared to a lifespan….) it’s over.

This baby has arrived, and the joy and bliss of the magical pregnancy and unlimited possibilities is replaced with a great amount of crying, sleepless nights, long relentless days and the reality of a newborn (beautiful as it is). Looking in the mirror at the physical changes and the new lifestyle can be really tough (so I‘m told – as a man who is not yet a parent, my experience is definitely second hand through friends and clients!) and the struggle is very real.

Another scenario I watched last year was coaching four people to their first Ironman Triathlon.

A massive goal that seems nearly years in the making for most.

After the race, all smiles and exhaustion, it was great to see the glow in each of them, but again, a few months later and I could see the depression set in. This year I have watched helplessly as three of these fine people could not restart and let their swim goggles, bikes, and running shoes sit unused as they got swallowed back up in life.

So what can we do about this ‘anti climax’ issue?

First, one more story, because this one contains the answer!

Another big goal seeker was given an amazing opportunity – to fly in a CF-18 Fighter Jet with the Canadian Air Forces.

He had a ton of hoops to jump through to be eligible as a normal citizen, and one of those hoops was to drop about 60 lbs.

We worked together, he dropped the weight, he went for a jet ride and it was indeed the thrill of a lifetime!

In fact, he went on a few rides in trade for hundreds hours of volunteer work for the forces and the jet rides were their way of saying thanks.

Then it happened: (and it happens a LOT), the big goal was accomplished. Check mark! Done! (Now what?)

Well, the weight restriction was off, so a little relaxation in the eating came first, and the gym routine and cardio could wait for a while, after all, a rest was surely earned.

A week off became a month, then another and another, soon it was a year, then two etc.

At 336 lbs, my friend called me for help again, but this time was different. We talked about big goals, and about ‘what’s next’, about ‘why’ we were going to do this and how it would be different.

By setting multiple small goals around the big goal (drop 100 lbs) and really talking about a lifestyle change rather than a single event, my friend is now down over 120 lbs in the past 18 months and really living life again.

And this time, the change is permanent. It’s different because from the start, we were clear that there was no ‘finish line.’ There were a series of goals: to drop 100 lbs, to get to high school weight, to start playing hockey again, to climb a mountain, and the latest one, to run a Half Marathon.

As each goal approaches, more goals are encouraged to keep the momentum going and keep engaged in life.

For the post partum mom – that might mean to get in the gym and gain her pre-pregnancy body back – have the childcare room take care of the baby and give mom two hours of blissful ‘me’ time with her friends.

For the triathlete example, it’s about setting another goal –entering another race, or picking a new sport if the one you just finished isn’t a good fit.

Yes, take some time off but as soon as you can get back to doing something that fuels you and keeps you going!

What’s after Ultraman for me? I’ve got a few ideas brewing once I celebrate this goal and recover.

To quote a runner friend of mine: What’s YOUR goal? Set it, Plan it, Live it! (Bill Nielsen)

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out for more information.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s newest outdoor ice facility opens to the public this week

The speed skating oval at Setters Place at Great Chief Park will be open Dec. 17th

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

Rebels lose to Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1

Tigers break Rebels’ three-game winning streak

Exhibition explores the rich history and culture of Métis people

The exhibition is on display from Dec. 15th to March 10th at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

2019 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host sites announced

A total of 39 Provincial Championships will be hosted across the province

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Most Read