I have never been too keen on setting ‘New Years Resolutions’, simply because I don’t see why we should let the time of year dictate when we improve our lives (this should happen consistently throughout the year). People grow. People change. And this causes goals to change, as well. Only setting goals once a year is not sufficient. However, I do find it particularly motivating around this time of year to analyze my current goals and make any changes necessary to achieve them. This can be applied to fitness, business, personal life, or any other area.
Without goals and a plan to achieve them, we are simply going through the motions of life, letting life ‘just happen’ and seeing where we end up. That really doesn’t sound appealing to me. We need to be intentional about the direction we are heading and know exactly what we want to achieve. Goals can change multiple times within the same year. And that is why at the Muscle Hut, we help our client’s create their own fitness mission statement and continue to update it on a regular basis.
A mission statement is a clear statement of purpose that describes:
- who a person is and would like to be;
- what matters to them right now; and
- where they would like to go.
Having a strong, meaningful mission statement helps our clients make decisions and stay on track. It brings clarity to confusion. This helps to build intrinsic motivation — i.e. motivation that comes from our inner selves and deeper values, rather than “following the rules” or getting external approval. Intrinsic motivation keeps us focused, committed, and enjoying the process itself. It is a “pull” towards something we value and want, rather than a “push” away from something we don’t want. This can be an exciting process for those who are excited about defining their own path…which we all should be!
Here is a first hand example of how my fitness mission has changed over time. When I first started training at the age of 16, my main goal was to get stronger and faster to improve my ability in the sport of hockey. Once I realized that the prospect of getting drafted to NHL was likely non-existent (so close…), I transitioned away from hockey and found the sport of Strongman. By this time, I had really grown to love weight training and had plenty of time to experience all of the benefits that come along with it. I wanted to see how far I could take it, try to push the boundaries of my body and mind. Strongman was the vehicle that allowed me to do that. For many years, I enjoyed competing in Strongman competitions around North America and created many friendships with fellow competitors through the sport.
However, Strongman training can take a toll on the body; events like atlas stone loading, car deadlifts, truck pulls, and max log press, push you to the limit. After 10 years in the sport and numerous injuries, my body was telling me that I needed to take a break. It was a strange thought at first, not dedicating my training towards Strongman. For so long, this had been my life. Picking the next competition, figuring out what the events were going to be, creating a training plan, and executing that plan week after week, day after day. This type of training has a way of consuming your mind. Especially when you are going after weights and events that are just outside of your current ability level. I learned a lot about goal setting from Strongman, realizing that you must set your goals high and then do everything you can to achieve it. For example, last year I signed up for a competition knowing that the log press weight was 20 lbs heavier than I had every pressed. This was motivating. I definitely pushed myself harder during training, knowing that I had this goal that was just outside my reach. On July 10, 2016, I pressed a 250 lb log over my head at the Manitoba Provincial Strongman Qualifier. Achieving personal records is always satisfying, but carrying them out in competition really takes the cake!
As rewarding as these moments are to me, they come with the downfall of constant injury and rehabilitation. I reached a point where I knew I had to prioritize the care of my body and let everything completely heal up. My goals (for the time being) have transitioned away from Strongman to improving my overall health. I have pledged that I will get into the best shape of my life in 2018. What does that mean? It is important to get specific when setting goals. It is fine to begin the goal setting process with big, broad goals. But, then we must break them down into more specific, short-term goals and identify the daily actions that will lead to achieving them.
Getting into the best shape of my life means:
- Getting my bodyweight below 240 lbs with a body fat percentage of less than 15% while maintaining my current strength levels and improving my conditioning and athleticism.
- Continuing to improve my ability in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Setting goals is only the first step to success. It is just as important to figure out the daily actions that will drive you towards achieving your goals.
In order to get into the best shape of my life in 2018, I must execute on the following daily actions:
- Consistently stick to a low-carb, high fat, high protein diet.
- Consistently consume at least 3 litres of water every day.
- Follow my training plan with intensity and consistency (do not slack off or skip workouts).
- Monitor my progress during every workout.
- Be intentional with the type of training i’m doing (include more conditioning and plyometric work into my program).
- Consistently train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at least once per week.
As you can see, there is a common theme of consistency with each daily action. This is one of the most important factors in achieving any type of goal: consistency. If we want to get good grades in school, we must study consistently. If we want to increase the amount of sales that we make, we must be consistent with the number of calls/e-mails we make each day. And if we want to lose weight, we must be consistent with our training and nutrition.
We must also be realistic with the amount of time it will take to see the results we desire and the amount of work it will take to get there. Plans will not always turn out the way we wish and certainly not as fast as we want them to. But, this is not an excuse to give up. “If the first plan you adopt does not work successfully, replace it with a new plan. If this plan fails to work, replace it, in turn, with still another, and so on until you find a plan which does work. Right here is the point at which the majority of people meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail” (Napolean Hill, Think and Grow Rich).