“I want to make six figures.” “I want to be on the cover of a magazine.” “I want a six pack.” We’ve all heard such statements and we’ve all made them at time or another. Everyone has their personal goals –or at least they should; but not everyone reaches their goals. More often than not people set unattainable goals, work towards them for a couple weeks, realize they are going to fail, and then give up. This cycle is all too common. I do not have the best method for setting goals, but I would like to share how I set and work to achieve my goals.
There are two rules by which I use to set all of my goals. My goals must be both measureable and concise. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this. Although “get thinner” is a common goal, it is not specific enough. A better goal would be “Lose 10 lbs by June”, it is specific and it is measurable.
One of the golden rules of goal setting is that each goal should be attainable. That may be true, goals need to be possible in that I would not set a goal to swim from America to Europe underwater in a single breath. But in my opinion, goals just need to be possible within reason, your goals should be set high enough that even you question if you can accomplish them. I am not sure if there is anyone else beside myself that thinks I can achieve my goal of becoming the fittest man in the world, for even I am skeptical at times. But if I never aim that high I won’t give myself that chance to find out.
Aside from my two rules for devising goals, there is one important guideline that I am always aware of; that I may not attain my goals. I am by no means saying that I am accepting of failure, but I am saying that I am aware that I sometimes aim too high and need to adjust my goals. Goals are dynamic, I think many people fail to recognize this; they get so wrapped up with “failure” that they often just give up. Here’s an example. Lets say my goal is to bench press 315lbs. If I am maxing at 225 lbs right now I am not going to just become strong enough over night to add a pair of plates onto the bar. I am not going to even be able to do this in a month. It’s ok to have a goal that large, but its not ok for me to expect immediate results, I should consider setting a monthly goal of benching 240 lbs, and setting smaller weekly or monthly goals working up to the 315 lbs. I am not abandoning the overall goal of benching 315 pounds, I am just working and setting goals at a pace at which I can see results.
Occasionally, you will fail, that is almost guaranteed. In fact, if you don’t fail, you may not be aiming high enough. It does not matter how many times you fail, but it does matter that you decide to try again. “Success has been and continues to be defined as getting up one more time than you've been knocked down.”
Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota
and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World's Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.