By Jennifer Livingston, LCSW
Director of Housing Services
My father instilled in me early on the importance of making personal goals throughout life. Perhaps this is why I have found my solace in the gym and in powerlifting — a strength sport that requires constantly reaching for personal records. The power of focus and gaining mental boundaries creates a foundation for your drive.
While I have always been active in varying sports throughout my life, team sports, marathons and half marathons, the beauty of powerlifting for me is that, it is simply, me versus me — attempting a max rep (with a ton of weight) on three main lifts – squat, bench press, and deadlift.
The training can be intense and the competition can be a bit nerve-racking, it is in those spaces that my mind is quiet and my anxiety and stress disappears.
Since I started this goal of powerlifting about 2 1/2 years ago, I have lost over 40 pounds, dropped two weight classes, and have set records in lifts that I never thought I could do a couple of years ago.
My greatest accomplishment thus far has been my last competition – lifting a total of #810 lbs – #165 bench press, #320 squat, and # 325 deadlift.
I love the heavy weight of the barbells. It is that very weight that gives me strength and mental fortitude to push through, allowing me to let go of the unnecessary weight of anxiety and daily life stressors – it is definitely my form of therapy. Plus, it feels good to be strong!
Here are a few tips for taking on your own audacious goals!
- Identify your goal, and make it public! This allows for accountability and drive. I could have never achieved my lifting goals if it was not for the support of my family and my powerlifting team. “A challenge shared is a challenge halved.”
- Make goals that are outside of your comfort zone (aim high). Make sure that they are measurable. Being able to witness your progress is a huge motivator to keep going.
- Work hard & work often. There is no easy fix, you gotta put in the grunt work before you can achieve the benefits.
- Let people help you. From my family, to my gym family, to my coworkers, having the push and support from all these support systems in my life allows me to stay focused and driven.
- Visualize. Take time to visualize yourself obtaining your goal. How would that look? How will you feel? Making a visual path for your success will help boost your belief and will keep you motivated to achieve that goal. Seeing is believing!
- Celebrate EVERY success! This is crucial! Take time to celebrate every success, big or small, along your goal journey. This will build your commitment and confidence to keep going. I found that when I did not make a lift I wanted, it just made me more driven and hungry to try again. So reward yourself with that piece of chocolate cake every now and then on your path to success!