This week on Barbell Shrugged we talk about how to set better goals so that you can grow stronger in 2015.
The very first step is to get light again. You are probably carrying around some baggage from the last year. Dusty plans and ideas are still stuffed into your pockets. You can certainly remember where you succeeded and where you fucked up, right?
That’s all normal. It also explains why booze is so popular on New Years Eve. If you have a great time with great people, responsibly of course, you might just forget where you left those bags.
It does suck to miss a goal. The only thing worse is not taking a shot, or underwhelming yourself with the outcome. But if you develop a better mindset and goal setting strategy you can avoid most of that.
Here are a five quick tips to put you on the right path.
1. Habit before outcomes.
It’s great to lose ten pounds of body fat, or to add 50 pounds to your back squat. But you don’t really have control over that outcome, do you?
You can work very hard and still fail to meet an outcome goal. Also, you might get there, but this only gives you one specific opportunity to feel successful. Instead, you should set behavior goals. For example, a better goal would be to go to the gym and train 4 days a week without exception. If you can keep that habit up you’ll be stronger and fitter no matter what. In fact, in time you’ll probably exceed the old outcome goals anyway.
2. Focus on starting…over and over, better and better.
Habits are powerful, but you cannot take on too much at once. You have to set the rules in your favor.
You could commit to going to the gym 4 days a week for a minimum of two-hours per session, for example, but you’d be setting yourself up for failure. The action has to be sustainable. You also have to have some band-width for error or misses along the way.
The better goal is to simply go to the gym each day and begin with your best effort. Start better and better, over and over again, until you get exactly what you want.
3. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Building great habits means taking daily steps towards your goal. Each step is a challenge, but well within reach. The only requirement is the daily, sustained effort.
There are two truths to the stepping. The first is that some days will feel much harder than others. You’ll start to feel very heavy all over again, which is fine. Only the step is required. The second thing is that, sometimes, things feel easy. This is the harder scenario.
Just because you can do more now doesn’t mean you should. If you are making progress don’t change a thing. Stick to your plan. If 5 more pounds is the goal, go for 5 more pounds. It doesn’t matter if you could add 15 or 20.
If you rush things you’ll be much more likely to fall down. So, take your time.
Awesome talk referenced by Doug on Goal Setting.
4. Don’t worry about the acute misses.
You cannot be perfect, not even close. Luckily you don’t have to be.
If you miss any step the best thing you can do is just start back the very next day, the next session, the next week, whatever is required. The acute misses don’t matter that much at all in the long-run. Don’t worry about having to double the effort to ‘catch-up.’ You’re alright, just don’t let misses stack up. At that point you’re building a brand new sort of habit.
5. Don’t try it alone.
The easiest way to ensure success is to surround yourself with great people.
Find a local gym. Join an online community. You can even reach out through social media for support. It doesn’t matter, just find people who share your mindset and understand your goals. Let them help hold you accountable. Let them push, coach and inspire you. You can hardly go wrong.
One final tip – The more complimentary your community is, the better. Where you are weak, find someone who’s strong. Let them drive you to new levels. And likewise, do your best to help push and elevate them. That sort of approach to goal setting will take you a long way.
From everyone at Barbell Shrugged, Happy New Year!