Let's cut to the chase. Months ago, my dream was to be able to do 4 strict pull-ups by the time I turned 40. (Eh hem, that day is creeping up closer than a scary clown that just climbed out of a sewer.)
Unfortunately - It was a dream. It was a dream because had it been a goal, there would have been a solid plan in place. I had lots of drafts, yet never finalized the plan to turn my dream into reality.
When I started working on pull-ups, I could grip the bar and basically dangle there, which brought back terrible memories of those horrific fitness tests in PE class. (For the record, back in the day when I was a PE teacher, my students never experienced that torture.)
Those dangling moments were an eye-opener to the amount of work that needed to be done to make my dream a reality.
So, I got stronger and asked a couple of trainer friends for tips on how to reach my goal. I started putting in work, but...I found boxing - and like the squirrel that I am - I got distracted.
At the time, I didn't realize how much I was missing running. My love for setting a race goal and working toward it had no bounds.
Working toward my pull-up goal was tougher than I thought it was going to be and I was way out of my comfort zone on progressing with it.
So, I began to focus more on boxing. I was loving this new skill and there was a progression to the learning of this sport that made sense to me.
Also, I hated dangling from the bar.
And one thing that I hate more than that is asking for help on strength work.
I stopped asking my friends for recommendations when I wasn't making progress.
I stopped asking them to give me a boost to the top of the bar so I could practice negatives.
Then, I stopped trying completely.
My halfhearted attempt at a plan was the absolute cause of my failure to make progress toward the impending goal.
So, I'm not adjusting my plan - I'm adjusting my goal.
I need more time to build strength, so I can pull properly without causing injury.
Now there's a plan that was developed by my trainer that I'm tracking. Writing down my workouts keeps me honest and provides a clear picture of my progress and the work that is yet to be done.
My goal is still to do four pull-ups. I'm not putting a date on that goal, because I have a tendency to push too hard under pressure. I'm going to allow the progression to dictate my pace - and I'm so content with this decision.
Determining Your Fitness Goals
When meeting with clients, unsurprisingly, each person has a different reason for starting their fitness journey or seeking assistance to take their journey to the next level. As much as their reasons differ, they typically fall into one of these categories:
1. To get healthy,
2. To lose weight,
3. To get strong(er),
4. To "find my abs".
There are always reasons deeper than those categories. Sometimes it's body aches and pains. Other's it's serious health reasons - family health history, high blood pressure or cholesterol. Often, it's simply a desire to feel better both on the inside and out.
It is imperative to create goals that really matter to you. Saying, "I want to lose 10 pounds," might not sound solid, yet may turn out to mean nothing when you lose only 5, fit into your favorite jeans, and have more energy.
When you're setting those goals, dig deep into the reason that you want to begin a fitness program. What do you really want to achieve?
Once you have the BIG goal, break it down into smaller goals. Bite-sized goals that set you on a path toward your larger goal help keep you focused.
Developing Your Fitness Goal
Within the world of fitness, the possibilities for goals are endless. A goal needs to be tailored to you in order to remain focused and shut down those distractions.
When you sit down to write your goals, ask yourself:
How will you know when I achieved my goal?
How will achieving that goal create a better life for me?
Then, write down three ways that your life will improve when you meet your goal (or as you work toward meeting your goal).
Now, write down three challenges that could prevent you from achieving your goal.
What are you going to do when those challenges arise?
Starve The Distractions or Listen To Them?
Let's say a distraction comes along, which it inevitably will, and probably at the worst time. Just like knocking your tooth out the night before you're getting your picture taken for the newspaper. Terrible timing, but a decision had to be made - tooth or toothless for the photo? (True story - and the show went on.)
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes - sometimes they're in our head, sometimes it's other people or things that cause us to get off track.
Ask yourself: Does the goal still make sense to you?
Yes? Awesome, keep chipping away at it. Figure out how to eliminate those distractions and get back to work.
No? Create a new goal or modify your current one. You can always go back to that goal if it makes sense later on.
Along with distractions come setbacks. As you make progress toward your goal, but encounter an obstacle, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What happened that prevented me from succeeding in my goal?
2. How did I address those setbacks?
3. What can I do differently to be successful?
4. What can I learn from this that will help me better prepare to meet my goal?
5. What can I do to immediately get back to making progress toward my goal?
Make modifications and remember that you can always start over - and that you don't have to wait to the first of the month or the first of the year.
Choose to stay focused each week, each day, each hour.
If you need a helping hand setting your goals, I'd love to help! Don't hesitate to reach out to me!
What goal are you most proud of achieving? What are you working on right now? Hop into the comments and let me know!