Do Your Goals Suck?

Maybe that’s why you never stick to them. Change them. Come up with excuses for them. It’s not your fault, but poor goal choice, and focus on the outcome, not the process, is a bad road to go down.

I usually save my goals rant for January, when everyone is making half assed goals they half care about. Recent conversations with a friends made me realize that many people don’t know where to begin the goal process, or even what a proper goal looks like.

After our conversation about lifting, running, eating and life, I left him with, “Send me some goals later, and don’t just come up with numbers you want to hit.”

An hour later, I receive a text with a grid of numbers on certain lifts to hit within 1 month and 3 months… Not exactly what I wanted him to come up with. He then told me, no one ever showed him how to make real goals.

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Great to have clear goals, but focused on numbers only can set you up for disappointment. 

Focusing on numbers only, doesn’t take into account the process, at all. It just highlights the end game. What you “want.”

What’s your day to day look like to get there? How much should you do? When should you ease up on yourself? What if you don’t feel good? Focus on the end game, or the outcome, sets you up for disappointment.

Even if you have it mapped out. I’m going to squat this much this week and that much the next week and 10 pounds more on week 3 – you’re setting up for failure. Too many different factors can influence your outcome goal. It’s not your fault either, many things that will influence it are totally out of your control.

Process focused goals, let you determine what you can control and forget about the rest of it.

 

So what does a process goal look like?

If I want to squat 300 pounds within the next couple months, here is an example goal:

  • Outcome: squat 300 pounds
  • Bad, lazy process goal: squat heavy and increase weight once a week for 8 weeks.

 

Better process goal(s):

  • Improve my squat technique by doing some empty barbell squats to start each training session, whether it’s squat day or not.
  • Improve my quality of sleep by turning off all screens 1 hour before bed. When heavy squat day comes, I’ve done my best to be well rested and ready.
  • Add 10 minutes of hip opening mobility a few mornings per week.
  • Put my phone in airplane mode while training so I can focus better on the task at hand.

That’s several process goals to help accomplish the one outcome goal, squat more weight. By having a process of working on technique, making sure I’m well rested and focused is going to be much more impactful than just hoping my outcome happens at the end of eight weeks. In other words, I’m focusing on what I can control.

These process goals all focus on improving quality of something. Hitting numbers, focuses on quantity only. Emphasis of quality allows us to enjoy the process, get better and not worry so much about the actual outcome number.

Let’s say it’s 8 weeks later. I only hit 275 on my squat.

 

Bummer, didn’t make the goal.

 

However, I did get better sleep over the past two months than I have in the past two years. My mobility worked payed off big time. That combined with the technique work in my warm ups really improved how comfortable I feel in the bottom of the squat.

Now, I can look back and say, “Hey, even though I didn’t get my number, I really improved quite a bit through this process.”

 

So what do you really want? Do you really want to lose 15 pounds? Or do you want to feel more comfortable in your body and have more freedom? Zoom out and figure out what you really want. How can you get there? What’s the day in and day out look like? Maybe it starts with changing your morning routine or improving sleep – even though those things may not seem to have anything to do with the outcome. They do.

My advice to you; want better, not more, not less.

Live in the process, soak it up and enjoy the hell out of it. Don’t day dream about the outcome.

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Do Your Goals Suck?

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