“The goal is to keep the goal the goal”
Last October I set my goals for 2018 in education and training. Last month I completed all but one of them, or which I’m simply awaiting the results. Although there were multiple courses, I managed to keep the goal the goal each time.
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals”
Seeing as I completed most things ahead of schedule, I’ve had to come up with some new 2018 goals. Academically speaking, I have enough to keep me busy for some time, so the drive is now towards the physical. (1)
Specifically, my goals in powerlifting are to best my last competition numbers (in competition) and develop new skills in bodyweight training.
I’ve found that when drafting non-academic goals my best results came from setting relatively easy and achievable mini-goals, with an eye on the grand goal. There have been times where I might have set the mini-goal too low, but I don’t see that as a negative. If anything, it helps drive the process in a positive direction.
“Chris, how fast can you get this gut off me?”
“I don’t know, how long did it take to get there?”
Yes, this was an actual conversation from 2013…and the gut prominent
Applying the same concept to another person is different matter, as many people are looking for the fastest results and the path of least of resistance. In several personal training textbooks the SMART goal setting method is covered, and I think its as solid of a start as anything else. The devil is in the adherence.
Using my previously mentioned Powerlifting goal as an example…
SPECIFIC (Realistic): I know what my last record was, and the date and conditions under it was achieved. I know the minimum load that must be added in order to achieve that goal and the date of the next competition.
SPECIFIC (Grand): I know what percentage over my last record I want to hit.
MEANINGFUL (Realistic and Grand): Sometimes this is defined as MEASURABLE. I think that either word works, and I actually use both. Meaningful serves as a validation of my training process that leads to exceeding my former best efforts. S+M=A fuel source. Measurable means that something can be Managed.
ACTION ORIENTED: Since I know the next competition date,and the targeted realistic/grand goals, I can work backwards on the calendar with the realization that progress isnt linear, and that life can sometimes get in the way. I know that I must train my competition lifts with a certain amount of frequency and intensity and that I typically peak within three weeks. (2)
“I need one more pull-up today than I did two days ago. It needs to be a clean rep or it doesn’t count. I just need that one, I’ve been here before and I’m stronger today than I was 48hrs ago. I’m here for a reason.”
Actual self-talk while standing under the pull-up bar.(3)
REALISTIC:Achieveable or unachievable differs between people, and I believe this is where the creation of smaller goals that lead in the direction of the grand goal is a good thing. Some people will set their mini-goals too high, they will either learn from that experience or stop moving forward.
TIMELY: This can be a challenge with others (or even with yourself) and may require some calibration in order to make things realistic. I tend to view deadlines as deadlines, not as target dates. I will actually lower a goal or not even take it on if I think I cannot complete the task in the assigned time. That said, I have no issues with hiring professionals to assist or consult with if needed. I’d like to think I have enough social credit that many issues are resolvable within reach of my speed dial.
(1) I also have some loose goals listed for 2019 and 2020. Being able to think and plan years in advance was a great lesson learned while serving in the military.
(2) Experience has shown me that qualified lighter class lifters (<200lb/<90kg) and some masters lifters peak faster than their heavyweight/super heavyweight peers. If I were to go up or down a weight class my peaking time might differ slightly.
(3) I didn’t get one more pull-up, I got three more, and equalled a previous PR. I’m now one rep away from beating that, so the goal has been re-adjusted for an even higher number (SPECIFIC AND REASONABLE) by next week, which happens to be the day this bar is rotated back into the program (TIMELY.) Not all my goals are number/repetition based, some are simply to move better in a given range or a skill based. I personally don’t believe that hanging 100% of ones training on a certain number (on the bar, or on the scale for that matter) is a good thing.