If we don’t do it, who will?
How can you get there if you don’t know where you are going?
Where is it you are going? Do you know? I don’t mean a place to travel too, but where is it that you want to be. If you don’t know where it is you are going, than what drives you? Most people need goals. They need goals that can be measured and quantified. Some of us don’t. Some people are quite happy doing the same thing every day without a specific goal. That’s ok. If you are able to push yourself with only knowing that you will continue to get stronger than I guess that can be looked at a goal in a sense. But for some of us a specific goal can do a lot to keep us motivated and keep us going to the gym, or fitness class, or whatever it is you do. Goals can be a great way of keeping yourself engaged.
In a previous post I talked about a goal that I had and what I did to keep myself on track to achieve it. Would I have been able to achieve the same results if I didn’t clearly layout my goal? I don’t know. Maybe. I can’t really say for sure because I can’t go back and try to do the same thing minus the goal I had. But I do know that goals help us keep ourselves on track and help us achieve what it is we are trying to achieve. Goals are also a great way of keeping yourself motivated. You can also use goals as a way of rewarding yourself for all the hard work you have been doing.
Some of us are fortunate that we don’t necessarily need goals to keep motivated. I have seen it myself. Some people are so motivated that they can bring it every time they workout. They have such a drive to be stronger and better that they don’t need specific goals. They are motivated already by the desire to be better.
But, if we create goals that are unrealistic we run the risk of defeating ourselves and actually doing more harm than good. We need to keep our goals realistic and achievable.
Goals and sub goals
Goals can be many things. A long term goal can be to increase your body weight with muscle by 20 lbs. This can be achievable within one year more or less based on the number of years you have been training, diet, technique, etc.
But it can be tough to stay motivated for the year trying to achieve this goal. What can be done then to keep motivated and not lose focus of the goal? We can break this into smaller goals.
Breaking this down into smaller goals that we can achieve in less time will help keep the motivation going. Let’s break down this goal of achieving 20 lbs of muscle in one year to gaining 5lbs of muscle every 3 months. Definitely something that seems to be in reach. Or you can break it down further if needed. How about 3lbs in 6 weeks. Yeah, that’s definitely something that seems more in reach. It also allows you to make adjustments to keep on track if needed.
Having these smaller goals will help you achieve the large goal. It comes down to the fact that we need to keep ourselves engaged in what we are trying to achieve. If we don’t break down the goal into smaller goals it’s easy to lose focus on that target and it’s easy to lose motivation. A year is a long time. Six weeks on the other hand is something that we can reach out too, something we can grasp in our hands and hold on to. It’s quite tangible.
Think about it for a minute. Six weeks is easy to measure. Create a calendar for the six week period. Put on that calendar what you plan to do for that day. Live only in that six week period. Don’t look forward to your 1 year goal. There isn’t any need to. If you live in each 6 week period, every period you reach your goal you will have the satisfaction of knowing you succeeded. That is the reward. You should feel really good about that! Take that feeling of satisfaction to the next 6 week period and repeat.
Wow, it’s now one year later. That’s the idea. When you focus on these smaller time slices you no longer see your overall goal as this huge, maybe unachievable goal. An example I can give is my black belt test. I knew I was in for a 7 hour day of hard, physical work. If I looked at that test as a 7 hour test, it would have been very overwhelming. Instead I took each smaller part of the test and focused on completing that segment. 5 mile run, done. Physical requirement, done. Drills, done. And so on and so on. If I didn’t do this, I probably would have been over whelmed by the magnitude of the test.
Do you know your goal? Is it realistic? I hope so. If your goal is way out there, you’ll never achieve it. Our goals need to be something that we can actually achieve. No matter how we break it down, if it isn’t achievable we will only end up feeling defeated. That feeling of being defeated will do more harm than good. Keep your goal realistic. If you don’t, you can do more harm than good.
If you are getting what you need out of your work outs without setting specific goals than good for you. But, I want you to try something. Set a goal. Make it a short term goal. Now do your best to achieve it. I think you will find that your work outs aren’t what they used to be. They are better and they are delivering more results. Funny how that works, isn’t it.
Yours in health,