How was your Christmas? Mine was a bit dull.

I could blame the December weather, which certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about. But the truth is I found myself feeling a bit deflated after the thrill of trekking to Base Camp at Mt Everest in October.

I’d achieved my 2017 travel goal, and the aftermath was an anticlimax.

Reflecting on this, I remembered something our expedition leader Mike Allsop had mentioned. He said the slopes of Everest are littered with the bodies of those who reached the peak – but then either died at the summit or on the way back down. All their efforts had been focused on reaching the summit. They forgot to plan for what came next.

This applies to much of life, not just lofty things like mountain climbing. I know someone who has had the goal of completing a leaky building remediation project. This horribly expensive process took 10 years but he eventually reached a successful outcome. Now he’s relieved to have completed the project, but not quite sure what to do next.

The ‘what comes next syndrome’ can apply to anything that consumes our attention and efforts. It might be raising children, completing a university degree, creating and selling a business, or even paying off your mortgage. It’s one reason the All Blacks are now encouraged to build skills and gain qualifications for life after rugby. Your current passion may be incredibly exciting and worthwhile, but the nature of goals is that they’re eventually achieved. You need a plan for the next stage.

Have you made the same mistake as me? Putting so much effort into an exciting short-term objective that you neglected to build a vision beyond it? There can be only one solution: go back to fundamentals, and ask yourself what is really important to you now. Then set some new goals.

Thank goodness I’m off to Sydney soon for one of my regular catch-ups with my mentor, Dr Fred Grosse. We’ll be focusing on what to do after you achieve your goals. I’ll let you know what comes next.