Feb 15, 2014 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

I have been watching the Olympics this last week, as I’m sure most of you have. I am amazed at the athletic ability that they represent. I think of their dedication; their commitment and their perseverance needed to attain their goal. And their Goal is the Gold.

In order for them to even get there, they had to have set their goals early on. For some of these Olympians, it is their third Olympics! Can you imagine the driving power and the diligence it takes to continue after defeat? What an example for us all.

In order to have success in our lives, I believe we all need to set goals for ourselves. Doing this enables us to achieve our dreams. We can’t let our resolutions fall by the way side. Setting these goals are crucial if we want to succeed.

After we set a goal, we need to see ourselves achieving it! When I was in the hospital after my injury, and several weeks of physical therapy, the staff gave me an electric wheelchair so I could get around more easily. I was really psyched!!

I would wheel around the floor for days and I loved it. It was the first time in a long time that I had something to look forward to. It was a piece of independence that I was craving. I needed to be able to do something on my own.

Then it was decided I should use a manual wheelchair. I fought them all on this – my wife, the doctors and nurses, my family. Everyone felt that it would be better for me to have the manual wheelchair.

And because I didn’t have much say in my life at that time, my electric wheelchair was replaced with a manual wheelchair. It took many weeks of physical therapy and hard work for me to learn how to maneuver this chair.
But I was determined to reach my goal. Independence was very important to me. This was something I felt I had to do.

The nurses had put masking tape on the floor – at first – one inch apart. So my goal was to wheel to that one inch line – one inch at a time. Then it was two inches. It literally took weeks to go a few inches. It was very frustrating at times. My body could not do what my mind was telling it to do.

I had to learn and follow the principles of accepting, adapting and acting. Change is inevitable and we must learn those principles if we are to gain the success we are working for.

It took a lot of time; but I was able to roll past one strip at a time, then another, and then another… I had met my first goal. So I set another: two stripes… then three. I had to accept my paralysis and make the best of what I still had.

A few years later, I set a goal to break a record. I then wheeled one stripe at a time, then two stripes, then one mile marker, then two … Finally I achieved my goal. I set a new world record racing a personal marathon of over 500 miles in my manual wheelchair from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas!

I was thinking of that when watching the Olympics. How many falls had those skiers, those speed skaters, those ice dancers had before finally getting it. Surely there were times when it seemed all the hard work wasn’t paying off. This is true of all of us.

Many of these athletes have overcome broken bones and personal hardships to get to the Olympics. Olympic skier Noelle Pikus-Pace overcame many obstacles. She came out of retirement after a miscarriage; dealt with a concussion, vision problems, and vertigo.

However, she fought through them all to do that last run which would earn her the gold. She said, “If I hadn’t gone through every single one of those things, I would not be here today, and here is where I want to be.”

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”