Build Mental Muscle by Embracing the Journey Toward Goals

Success comes from the struggle to get there

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Do you believe success is about meeting your goals? Most of us think about the outcomes we want rather than the journey we take to get to them. But once we go through the process of setting and achieving goals, over and over, we eventually realize that real fun and accomplishment are in the struggle. Success is about facing challenges, stretching boundaries, and discovering you are more capable than you first imagined. It isn’t always about results; it’s about what happens before you reach goals.

If you believe you aren’t successful unless you amass accolades and get to the top of every ladder you climb, you will be disappointed. What’s more, you’re likely to quit trying to meet success when you face setbacks.

When I understood the journey toward success made me happier than success itself, I stopped throwing in the towel when victory didn’t look likely and, instead, put in more effort. Then I succeeded more and was content on my journey.

You might imagine disappointment is inevitable if you don’t reach targets. After all, you don’t get what you want, so you feel dismayed. You might not spot the rewards of pushing your boundaries as you struggle to succeed. Failure to recognize how you benefit means you might as well give up — often, way too early.

Find the treasure

All journeys to goals are so valuable their worth eclipses procured results. You believe what you get for accomplishing a goal is the treasure at the end of the rainbow. If you pass an exam, land a brilliant job, or mold your body to resemble perfection, you think you’ve got it made.

Soon, though, you’re dissatisfied and must set new goals, or you don’t feel alive anymore. Your frustration stems from not knowing the real treasure is in the rainbow, not at its end.

If you don’t pass the exam, land a great career, or squeeze into a smaller-sized outfit, you are more than dissatisfied; you’re deflated and imagine you are faulty. There’s no point retracing a few steps — like you probably should — to discover what went wrong so you can put it right.

The benefits of goal-oriented journeys are in the steps toward them, not the results.

Imagine you want to build a business from scratch. You may believe reaching your goal will make you happy. Your pleasure will be momentary if you forget the struggle you experienced and the knowledge-building you’ve accomplished along the way.

Indeed, you might lust after the difficult days of the past because they injected your life with meaning and gave you energy. You won’t sense the satisfaction you crave unless you immerse yourself in a journey toward an aim.

If you build a business worth half the amount you want, you won’t see the value of your effort so far and might stop attempting to reach your target.

Whether successful or partway there, you lose because you set your sights on the wrong part of the voyage. Consequently, you don’t experience the success you want, and you feel empty or quit.

The hurdle

The problem with not recognizing where your treasure lives will grow when your plans go astray. Plenty of people struggle and fail without seeing how they progress.

They don’t recognize lessons that can propel them to a successful outcome — if only they stay out of the pit of depression and remain afloat.

People often abandon their goals when they achieve different results than they want. They think of themselves as failures because they focus on destinations and overlook what they gain on their travels.

Most successful people struggle after they meet targets. They face setbacks and challenges. The difference between them and folks who don’t get what they want is they accumulate strength from the lessons they face.

They see each setback as a step closer to their goal instead of a personal failure.

If you focus on the end of the rainbow, you’re more likely to be a quitter than someone who builds mental muscle from experience and enjoys challenges.

Shift your perspective, and you will succeed. See challenging times as mental workouts that make you resilient, and you’ll enjoy the journey to each goal and not be defeated if you haven’t quite got there yet.

Bridget Webber is a writer and nature lover, often found in the woodland, meadow, and other wild places. She writes poetry and stories and pens psychology articles; her love of discovering what rests inside the thicket and the brain compels her to delve deep. She’s appeared in many leading publications and ghostwrites for professionals who can’t spare the time to pen compositions.

Copyright © 2021 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved

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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.