Importance of goal setting
Setting a goal is one of the single greatest tools any athlete or individual can use to stay excited and motivated while they train. It keeps you hungry and gives you a mark to shoot for. I’ve had people tell me they weren’t goal oriented; that is impossible. You are either suppressing your vision, or are just simply not motivated to live. And honestly, if that’s true, there is something else going on.
Pulling out your goals
When I’m not at my gym, I'm at Naval Base Point Loma, working with soldiers dealing with PTSD. Every 4 weeks I meet with a new group of guys and girls of all different ranks. They come into the program, thinking they will have their own “personal trainer”. Because all strength coaches have somewhat of an ego, the first thing I do is explain the difference between a personal trainer and a strength coach. I then then do a few "Strength coach secret tricks" so that they can see some immediate improvements in their movement quality and to show them that I am not the "rah rah 3 more, 2 more reps", kind of guy. For the next 8 weeks they are given a tremendous opportunity to change their lives, have kick ass exercise programs, experience what real strength and conditioning feels like, see how they can actually lift without pain, and most importantly build lasting friendships.
The single most important day I have with the guys is when we meet 1 on 1 and talk about training, goals, and motivation. Some of the guys I meet with have zero motivation before we talk. I truly mean zero. They have no motivation to train and some even lack the desire to get out of bed in the morning.
Some guys initially tell me they have no goals and no motivation, while others have a clear vision to what they want to accomplish. Losing weight, bench 300, running an 18 minute 3 mile, look like a 19 year old porn star, I’ve heard it all. These guys make my life easy.
What do I do for the guys who have no motivation and have no trust or faith in me? Well that gets a little deeper, but motivation is usually found in their family and kids. It goes a little like this. “Are you married?” If yes, there's our motivation. “Do you have kids?” If yes, then there is our motivation. Once this motivation is found, the goals start rolling off their lips.
As for building trust, that comes in time from doing a good job and showing my guys that I will do anything to help them along their journey here, and for the rest of their lives.
Sharing is Caring
The power of setting a goal grows over time. How? By sharing them. I tell my athletes, friends, and family what I want to do. I, along with my athletes, write my goals on the goal board in the gym in big letters. There is no running or hiding from your goals. Sharing your goals forces you to be held accountable for your actions! Personally, I hate failing. I don’t know many who actually enjoy it, but I really really hate failing. In order to set yourself up to achieve your goals, the next section will give you a few things to think about.
The two guys in the pictures above are two of our friends from the beach volleyball community, Lenny and Andy. I have never heard so much friendly banter between two people when it comes to holding each other accountable for staying, strong, athletic, and lean. They are training partners, best friends, and truly care for each other and their goals.
There is an age old acronym to help you set your goals, S.M.A.R.T. This simple acronym helps you create a solid goal. To help understand the acronym I will use my own goal of benching 450.
S - Specific. Bench 450
M - Measurable 450 is pretty measurable to me
A – Action oriented. My actions in the gym will allow me to reach that goal
R – Realistic. I have benched 400 in the past, and there are guys who bench 1000. Absolutely realistic
T - Time Based. I didn’t set a specific time line but the sooner the better!
Try it out with your current training goal. See if it fits. If not, maybe it should be adjusted.
Here are some other goals that fit the SMART acronymn. Hit 90 mph by the time the season starts. Lose 18 pounds within the next 24 days. Squat 465 by August 1. Play in, and place well, in an AVP qualifier by the end of the summer.
Post Goal hang over
There is danger with setting and reaching your goal. Where do you go next? I have known a few people (myself included) to reach a goal, then carry on with their regular old life. 6 months later you realize you can no longer lift that weight, or that you have gained those pounds back that you worked so hard to lose.
Goals are meant to be mile stones in your life. They are meant to be achieved. When you achieve a goal, don’t become satisfied. Continue to push, and set new higher goals. Continue to raise the bar (pun intended). Obviously, it is not realistic to bench 1000 pounds every day. But it is realistic to continue to train hard so it isn’t so far out of reach. The key is to stay hungry. If you pass a goal, celebrate the passing but then set a new one! A new goal that will keep you hungry, motivated, and training hard.
1. Find motivation and set a goal! Goals are powerful and will keep you motivated.
2. Make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T.
3. Share your Goal: the more the merrier! Write it down and share your goal with friends and family.
4. Reach your goal: Get to your goal and don’t let anything get in your way!
5. Set a new goal and fight off the Post Goal Accomplishment Hangover: Celebrate your goal then set a new goal.
6. Continue to raise the bar!!
Have a strong day!