We all have them. Some of them are big, some of them are small. No, I’m not talking about nipples, I’m talking about goals! Goals are what we try to achieve in our lives that give us a reason to work hard and to better ourselves. They are different from dreams in that we can actually plan activities towards reaching them. This article goes within depth on reaching the goals we set for ourselves.
5 Tips to make and reach goals
After releasing a video on how to set up realistic goals I figured I should give some more background information on this topic. Allow me to add a personal touch where I talk about my own goals I had years back when I started and the ones I have now. But first of all let’s go to the main points you have to keep in mind while making goals and trying to reach them.
To summarize the video I am talking about which you can find on YouTube, here are the five tips I gave.
- Be specific in the goals you are trying to reach
- Give yourself a deadline within which you want to achieve your goal
- Make both small and medium term goals as well as long term goals
- Limit the amount of goals you set for yourself
- In case of multiple goals, let them be compatible with each other
So first of all you need to make sure that the goal you have is made specific enough. You can say you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness for example, but how are you going to do that and also what is ‘to improve’ in your eyes? Your goal should be formulated properly, for example: Within 4 months of training I will be able to complete a 20 minute run at a running speed of 12 km/h.
Now that’s specific and as you may notice it also shows a deadline. 4 months is the timeframe in which you want to reach that goal in this case. That means you have 4 months of training to plan in order to make it to that running distance. Deadlines are needed to plan your activities and to stick to them accordingly. You know that you are not going to make it to your goal if you keep procrastinating, which is why a plan with all your activities (or training routines scheduled) put on paper is essential. Obviously this goes for every kind of goal you have. Whether you want to become more muscular, healthier, faster or skinnier, a plan on paper goes a long way.
Go to the gym PREPARED!
You may think you can go to the gym unprepared and just work out from the workout plan you’ve got in your head, but nothing is as effective as writing it down, putting it in your phone and keeping a notebook with the workout you’re going to do for that particular day. This also allows you to plan ahead, working towards your goals more efficiently. If you write down how much weight you are going to use for training day one, training day 2 and so on, you’re more likely to actually make some progress. Gradually build up your workout plan to help you achieve your end goal. Keeping that in mind, you also have such a thing as short term, middle term and long term goals.
Short term, middle term and long term goals
Short term goals are, as you might have guessed, smaller goals that are easier to achieve over a short amount of time. A short term goal may be that you stick to your plan and that you eat healthy for a whole weak. A middle term goal would be to lose 3 kg of fat and a long term goal is to get to a body fat percentage of 7%, starting from your current fat percentage of 25%. Long term goals could also be very difficult skills such as the planche push up or one armed chin ups. Reaching a certain high level of boxing or earning your black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are also examples of these as they can take multiple years or even decades to achieve them. Planning ahead is the way to go for long term goals. Short term goals can go from a day to day basis or is based on a weekly goal you set out for yourself.
Limiting goals and compatibility
The last two tips that I gave in the video go hand in hand together. The fewer goals you set for yourself, the easier it will be to achieve them. That’s because you only have to focus on the least amount of goals and activities, making it easier to follow through. It also helps you to be really good at one particular thing. In my personal story I’ll explain that further. Just think of it this way. You are not going to be really good at Spanish, if you’re also trying to get at a high level of French, Bulgarian and Japanese. Point your arrow on one target, not at multiple at once and you’ll see hitting the bulls eye is way easier than it looks. Enough metaphors now, let’s talk about compatibility of goals.
A lot of people that I speak to and that want me to make them a personal workout or nutrition plan have way too many goals they want to achieve all at once. The truth is that gaining muscle mass while losing a lot of body fat is often a very hard thing to do. To gain muscle mass you need to eat more calories than you burn. Fat loss on the other hand is caused by eating fewer calories than you need. You see the problem right? These two are the contrary of each other, making it hard to get to both of them. Now I do often recommend building muscle mass as part of losing weight and it’s definitely possible. However, don’t try to be great at the both of them. You won’t built 30 kg of muscle mass in the same year as when you lost 50 kg of fat, or at least that’s highly unlikely. Therefore it’s easier to just focus on one particular goal or choose multiple that ARE compatible. An example is gaining flexibility while gaining muscle mass or losing fat. These two goals don’t interact with each other in a negative way. Remember that the more specific your goals are and the better they combine with each other the sooner and easier you will achieve them.
Learn from my mistakes
One of the biggest problems I’ve had in life was the fact that I never knew what I wanted. I have a wide range of interests and I’m rather spontaneous in picking up new interests. To give you an example, when I was at high school I wanted to be an animal care keeper and devoted my life to learning everything there is to know about animals. Later on I started to pick up fitness and wanted to learn everything about that. However, this is where it went wrong as I tried to gain as much muscle mass as possible, become as strong as possible and learn a lot of cool new gymnastic tricks. Besides that I wanted to be flexible, so I spend lots of hours training my flexibility. It didn’t end there as I also tried to improve myself as a runner. It started running when I was 16 years old and stopped at around 19. In that time I shifted my interests from long distance running (15 km was long enough for me), high intensity interval training (HIIT), sprinting and even some freerunning. If that wasn’t enough I was always fascinated by martial arts and went back to my old judo dojo to start to train again and actually I also wanted to do something which involved throwing punches and kicks.
By now you must understand why all of these things didn’t work out well. My specialty now is flexibility I guess, but even though I’ve been more flexible in the past, I still think that’s one of my best developed skills. That’s because flexibility training goes well with most other goals. Getting very strong and muscular combined with long distance running on the other hand doesn’t go well together though. Because I have always wanted to reach too many goals at once I never really became great at any of them. I’m not that muscular, running still is my weakness and I’m not incredibly strong.
This fits my personal view on fitness as I think it’s a combination of all aspects of physical and mental health. However, people won’t easily see me as an authority in getting massive muscles. I know a lot about a lot, but I don’t know everything about one particular subject. This has helped me to help others very much though as I’m often capable of making workout plans for others with a wide variety of sports backgrounds. I have coached martial artists, team players (football, soccer, basketball, ice hockey), gymnasts, the average Joe trying to gain some mass and dancers. All of them had different goals and different preferences, which is what makes personal training so interesting and important.
Some extra tips
Eliminate distractions: Stop looking at your phone every 5 minutes, don’t waste your time on Facebook or reading newspapers (which both make you dumb) and rather do something productive with the vast majority of your time. Watching a good movie, learning a language, having a good time with friends, exercising, learning how to cook a new dish, etc. are all productive in my opinion.
– Learn to be disciplined: Get up and go to bed at around the same time every day to get in some discipline and routine in your daily life. Go to the gym on the days you have planned a workout, eat healthy and stick to your diet plan.
– Celebrate ‘victories’: Don’t be afraid of celebrating your achievements. If you’ve been sticking to your diet plan for a week don’t feel depressed when you wanted to treat yourself with a chocolate bar. Just make sure you never mess up all the results you’ve had in a week of training in a moment of ‘weakness’. Temptations are everywhere, but try to admit to it in a controlled manner.
My current personal goals
For those wondering what my current main goals are, here we go. First of all I’ve gotten out of shape a bit the past months due to being too busy with school, projects and an internship. That’s why my middle term goal is to get back in shape. For me that means gaining a little bit more muscle mass again and losing about 2 kg of fat I guess. Other than that I mostly have goals regarding acquiring some new skills again, such as the one armed chin up (had it down a while back, but can’t do it anymore), decent front and back levers and simply living a healthy life. Another goal I have is to close the 250 pounds Heavy Gripper. I’ve closed the 200 pounds one already a while back and I can easily do lots of reps with it. Being able to close the 250 pounds gripper would mean my grip greatly improved and that’s one of my main goals right now too. Luckily all of these goals are actually quite compatible with each other.