Goals and Goal Setting
Goals are some of the most important decisions that we can make in our life. They give us a special drive, a reason to train, to progress. Too often I hear athletes with goals of “I want to get stronger” which is fine, but this is not a goal, this I would refer to as a dream or a life’s work. The difference between a goal and a dream is nothing more than a plan.
Let’s go back to the athlete that says, “I want to be stronger”. I then ask that individual what their all-time bench press is, the response is simple “300lbs.”. Applied technique fixes and a few training sessions enables that athlete to hit 305 lbs. on bench press. As a coach, I am done, I have fulfilled my duty to my athlete by “making them stronger” they now have 5 more lbs. on their best bench press. But did I actually make them stronger? Was this the intention of their goal of “getting stronger”? The problem here is in the definition of “stronger”. It bears the question “stronger how”? Strength can be defined in many ways, someone fighting cancer is viewed as strong, someone fighting depression or separation can be seen as strong, a single parent can be strong. Strength itself can be viewed and seen in many ways that extend far beyond what can be done with the physical body. (A blog on perception to come in the future)
When creating a goal. (A really good goal) We want to make sure we make SMART goals:
S – Specific – “I want to increase my bench”. This is right to the point. It tells us what we are trying to work on, and ultimately the root or heart of our goal.
M – Measurable – Increase is not enough. We need to be more scientific about our goals and the metrics that we use to measure them. We need to look at ONE aspect to improve upon at a time (speed, weight, etc.)
A – Attainable – These goals need to be placed into a timeline in our foreseeable future. An athlete can’t expect to hit a 400lb. bench press if he hasn’t event seen a 350 lb. one yet. Our goals need to be set in a timeline that will not get stagnate. If set too far in the future it becomes too easy to forget about and a goal set too close may be too easy to even be a real goal at all.
R – Relative – Our goals need to apply to the things in life that we tangibly need and want. A ballerina’s bench press is probably not going to improve their pirouette. Increasing a business’ revenue isn’t going to happen if they just lost three of their best employees. Our goals need to reflect your CURRENT state and interests.
T – Time Based – Lastly, we need to put a time cap on the goals that we have in mind. It has to have an expiration date if we want to be focused on it.
Coming back to the goal we began with, “I want to get stronger”. We will revise this goal to “I want to add 15 lbs. to my bench in 6 months”. Now we have a solid goal, it specifically applies to one lift with a numeric measurement of growth and also has a logical timeline of completion.
Goals do not have to be specific to fitness or sport. This model can be applied to any aspect of life. The idea is to have a tangible idea in your head that allows you or a coach to reverse engineer the necessary work required to accomplish that goal. In the gym it’s a coach that helps make those goals a reality. We have applied these same techniques in creating the gym space and community that you see before you. In order to be successful we had to take all the inflated ideas and dreams that we had and create SMART goals out of them. As we continue to attain those goals and set new ones, you are able to see how the gym and our community is able to grow and reflect the benefits of successful goal setting. (if you didn’t know, the photo with this post was one of the first pictures taken of Missing Link)