If you struggle to get started or stick with your exercise program, then it’s possible that you have not clearly answered this question.
Don’t worry, that’s totally normal and OK. In fact, it’s more common that I hear crickets around this kind of question, and much rarer to meet someone who has put a lot of thought into it.
That’s the purpose of this post: to help you set yourself apart from the pack.
The truth of the matter is that no one is ‘average’. We simply tend to fall into comfort zones because it’s easy to avoid pain.
Setting good goals is not easy, or sexy. It’s going to take you time. You’re going to have to write and rewrite them, because at first, they won’t be specific enough. It’s not going to make your biceps bigger. It will tax your brain and force you to examine yourself.
Your goal has to be what YOU want – not what someone else wants for you, or what you think you want.
If your reason for going to gym isn’t truly aligned with your heart and soul, then you won’t have the drive to push yourself when needed.
This is a BIG reason why gyms makes a lot of money off of ‘ghost’ members. Ghost members pay their dues, but wander around all month long, kind of knowing that they should be using it more, but, not clear about exactly why.
I’ve been a ghost member before, but not for the last ten years. Not since I clarified my ‘why’.
Here are 4 questions to help you get more clear:
“What is your dream? Can you see a clear image of it in your mind?”
Whether it’s you running up a flight of stairs without losing your breath, or having a full set of ripped abs, get clear about it.
“Why do you want this?”
Be specific. Usually there is a point of pain that you can cite that you are looking to avoid or overcome.
“What are you willing to give up to achieve this?”
Again be specific. How many hours per week? At what time? How much money are you willing to invest? What will you remove from your schedule in order to make this work?”
“When do you want to achieve this?”
Set a realistic timeline. Depending on the plan you choose, surely others have achieved this before. How long did it take them?
Yes, you actually have to write your answers to these questions down on paper if you want them to manifest into reality.
Thirty minutes invested doing this kind of work can pay off huge dividends. You will have done something for yourself that few other have taken the time to do.
You can review your goals periodically. Some do it quarterly, others annually. They do change over time, that’s normal.
Once you know exactly why you want to train, nothing will get in your way.
SNEAK PREVIEW: Next Friday, in Part II of this mini-series we’ll discuss the ‘How’ to achieve your training goal.
BONUS: You didn’t think I was going to ask you to do this without listing my own answers, did you?
My training goal is to be as strong as I can possibly be.
Yes, I do have a clear vision of how my ‘optimal’ body will look and perform. To be more specific for you, the readers, I see a certain combination of potential strength, balance, and agility that I am capable of. My weight and body fat are only supporting details, not part of the actual goal. It’s much more about shape and ability. I do track all progress carefully. I have not yet achieved this ‘dream’ status, but every year, I get closer & closer.
For me, it actually goes back to a time when I was young, before I got out of shape, a long time ago. At that time I remember being acutely aware of the potential of my own body. Then, for a long time, I lost my way, and stopped growing. I don’t ever want to get lost again.
Four hours is my ‘minimum’ amount of physical training per week; three one-hour sessions plus three twenty-minute sessions. I typically train in the morning but I also build in the flexibility to do it in the afternoon if needed. I invested in a home garage gym 8 years ago, so I have no dues to pay. I will not sacrifice significant amounts of sleep, work, or family time in order to train. I will find ways to do work more efficiently. I gave up TV and other idle habits.
I measure my progress in each session, making sure that I am continually getting stronger and faster. I also measure myself at the end of each year with an annual ‘benchmark’ test.