I was inspired by a lecture on a completely different topic to write this article due to a very horrifying statistic I discovered.
88% of the general population fail to achieve all their goals and so far I’ve been trying to understand why. I’m sure a lot of people will think oh that’s not me I’m different but if you can think back to a new years resolution have you still kept it today. As long as I can remember I’ve been able to set a goal and achieve it and I’m going to break down what I do to do so. This will focus on strength training related goals but the key principles can be use for anything.
1. Create Clearly Defined Goals
Saying I want to be stronger, bigger, leaner, slimmer is very subjective and your perception of each can change over time. If you ask yourself what would it mean being stronger, bigger, leaner, slimmer and try to achieve that. For example if I wanted to be stronger, my goal would be to lift heavier weight that I haven’t done before. So stronger would look like this
I want my 1 rep max for the bench to be 20lb more.
Bigger would be I want to pack on 20lbs more muscle.
By making it clearly definable there will be a marker that you can reach and confirm you’ve achieved the goal. One more point to add is to be 100% honest with yourself and truly ask yourself if you want this. Not if someone else wants you to do something or what society expects you to do. If you truly want to achieve your desired goal you will greatly increase your successfulness of doing so.
2. Measurable Goals
Once you define your goals you must check to make sure that they are measurable. If you don’t do this how will you know how close or far you are to achieving them. Without this knowledge you’ll be more likely to stop working towards them as you will have nothing to show for the effort you’ve put in.
The second benefit of measuring your goals is that if there is a road bump you will be able to see where and when it occoured and adjust accordingly putting you back on the path to success.
An example of measuring if you wanted to be stronger would be measure how much weight you’ve lifted each session.
3. Understand How to Achieve Each Goal
Setting goals is all well and good but if you don’t know how to reach them it’s pointless. Having a complete understanding of all the factors that go into achieving each goal is the only way you can guarentee you will be on the right path and not doing something pointless. On top of this by having a broad and deep understanding of the process you can find the most effective and efficient path towards you goals.
The second benefit of this is that if a road bump appears you will know EXACTLY how to act to continue on the path to achieving your goal.
An example of this is recognising the early stages of tendonitis when benching. You would stop benching, understand what is causing the tendonitis and treat the symptoms and the cause then go back to benching. As opposed to continuing to bench heavier and heavier weights and developing more and more severe tendonitis until the pain is unbarable and you fall short of your goal.
4. Eliminating road blocks before they happen
This has been a no brainer for me but I’ve noticed a few people still do this. Before you even start on the path to achieving your goals if you eliminate any factor that could adversely effect your ability to put the necessary work in, all your mental energy can be used for working rather than problem solving an unexpected problem.
An example of this would be not being able to travel to your gym as your car has broken down, but you chose a gym that is only 4 miles away so you can run. Or alternatively you have a home gym.
5. Break down each goal
Breaking down the goal into action steps to take will mean you will never have to wonder what to do next and elimintes as much future thinking as possible allowing for future mental energy to be spent on just working. By breaking down each action step into the most basic and smallest step to take you will easily flow from one step to the next making life even more easier for you.
6. Working Relentlessly
When setting your goals I know that they were exceptional goals and not just average ones. Goals like…
I want to pack on 40lbs of muscle for beach season
I want to lose 20lbs for beach season
These are not easy tasks or you would have done them already. They’re exceptional. Exceptional goals require an exceptional work ethic and a relentless attitude. This alone causes people to not reach their goals for two reasons. The first being that they never put in enough work to even come close to reach them and secondly by not seeing the results they want they drop out completely think they can’t do it or forget about it.
It’s not acceptable to be average. The average person has work ethic, average intelligence, average will power and average results. The average person though has exceptional goals.
Ok so you understand that it takes exceptional effort but putting it into practice is easier said than done. There is a reason for this and it’s because of your concept of will power and discipline.
7. Willpower & Discipline is FINITE!
Thinking you just need to man up and do it is all well and good but physiologically it’s simply not how the body works when self motivated. Willpower is not a mystical force. It is a physiological by product of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain creates willpower but also all problem solving, memory and focus and does not multitask well. What this means is if you are spending your mental energy problem solving, remembering things or focusing on something then willpower unaccessable.
Willpower is finite and often unavailiable, but it can be developed and become stronger just like muscle. Just as a muscle wont be able to lift the heaviest weights immediately, willpower will not be able to handle the most demanding tasks immediately.
While you have willpower you must push your hardest, putting as much work in as you can because it is finite and needs to be replenished.
In the next article I will give The Top 7 Brain Hacks To Manifest Willpower For Your Strength Training, Fitness or Parkour Goals