Goal Setting: The Overlooked Training Companion!

Without goals you are either running around in circles or standing with your hands down your pants. We need goals to aim and to strive for. Goal-setting can be made easy if you read this article.
Pop quiz: What are your training goals?

Well probably 6/10 of you answered: "Um, oh, well, I, ah, I, well, I wanna get big." 3/10 probably answered: "Well, I wanna be as big as Arnie (or someone)." Finally that last 1/10 probably would have stated something like this: "By August 1 this year I want my body fat to be less than 10%." or "In the gym this Friday I am going to use those 50kg dumbbells and not the 45s." If you are that one in ten there is not a lot I can do for you. You seem to know the score and what you want to achieve. You may keep reading if you wish, you may learn something but feel free to leave. As for the other 9 of you don't go anywhere because I am about to help you reach a level you probably never thought possible.

Why do we need goals?

Imagine a game of soccer without goals. You'd have 22 crazy people running around in circles doing nothing and being boring (well that sounds like a normal game to me anyway :) and two guys standing around in the middle of nowhere. Now compare that to your life. Without goals you are either running around in circles or standing with your hands down your pants. We need goals to aim and to strive for. Just like our soccer playing friends, they try to score and that's what they aim for.

What is a goal?

Now you are probably sitting there saying "This crazy fool don't now a damn thing, I have goals." Maybe you think you do but if you answered I wanna get big or be like someone that ain't no goal, that is a stupid statement made by a stupid person. A goal has many parts. The most important part is a specific achievement. Not I wanna be big, but more like I want to lose 20 pounds or I want to set a PB in my given event. Those of you who read the message boards probably have read of Hobbit Boy's transformation. He had specific goals and as far as I know he achieved them.

The next part to a goal is a timeframe. People more often than not leave this part out. It is fine to set a goal of losing 20 pounds but by when. I could set that goal now and achieve it in 10 years, but did I achieve my goal hell no, what good is that to me now. Set you specific goal and set a timeframe.

Your goal should now look like this: "I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 20 weeks." You can even take your goals further and write a plan of attack and I will address this later.

Realistic vs. Unrealistic goals

It is important when you set goals that they are realistic. For example losing 20 pounds in 20 weeks is realistic, 20 pounds in 3 weeks is not unless you cut off your leg. You have to me even more realistic about muscle growth goals.

Set three goals: Short, medium and long term.

Short term goals are goals achievable within the month. This is my current short term goal: "Every time I train in the gym I want to be stronger (e.g. do more reps or lift heavier) than my last session.)

See I have a time- every time I train, and a specific goal: lift more and heavier. Keeping a journal of sets, reps and feelings in the gym will help me to achieve this goal. Medium term goals are usually up to six months however I have extended mine to a year: "At the Queensland Powerlifting Championships next May, I will break the Australian Teenage 100kg class Deadlift record."

Long term goals are over a year. These can afford to be a little more extravagant than the others.

"By the time I turn 23 I will have held a world record in the deadlift in the junior age category." Now as you can see this is less realistic than my others but I is a long term goal and two years down the track it may be more realistic than now.

So now take the time to write out some goals and remember to be specific and have a timeframe. Re-evaluate these goals every month or so and keep reaching for the top.

Remember: If you drive with nowhere to go you will eventually run out of gas.

Use your brain and your brawn,
Callum Mahoney