I know you love goal setting; everyone does. You’ve got grand goals you want to reach, peaks to climb, distances to run, weights to lift, money to make and names to take. Everyone loves the thought of reaching goals, and you are no different. But how much thought have you put into how hard you will have to work for this goal? What things will you have to give up in order to reach it? How much hardship will you have to go through?
Quite often we forget that achieving a certain goal requires us to step outside of what we consider comfortable. You have to choose which goals you are going to go big on and what goals you will ignore.
You like the idea of doubling the body weight deadlift or having a six-pack, but have you thought through the steps that those goals require?
Let’s focus on the deadlift. Depending on your starting point, you might have to put in a considerable amount of time on honing your technique. It means a lot of repetitions while having a puritanical (thanks, Thesaurus.com) attitude toward the technique. Someone might describe it as being a movement-Nazi. But I won’t.
Are you willing to decrease the weight you are lifting in order to improve the technique? Are you willing to check your ego at the door as you enter the gym? I am currently working on Jefferson deadlift, and there’s no question that my ego has been bruised and battered. The weights are so light I don’t even know where my ego is. But I think it’s a welcome change.
On paper, your training program will look rather boring too: mostly deadlifts sprinkled with a few other movements that you might need. It literally is skill training that will eat into your other training time. Say bye-bye to tricep kickbacks and calf raises.
Can you deal with a boring program or do you need fireworks? This is a huge question since it can be the deciding factor as to whether you’ll follow through with the plan or not. Are you likely to get obsessed with a new shiny thing in a month’s time and abandon your current plan?
Are you willing to go through months of sore hands and end up with more calluses than the hairy-butt-crack-flashing plumber down the road? Be prepared for this since you will be gripping the bar, a lot.
How about the fact that you will feel fresh on most days when you walk out of the gym? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your aesthetic goals and prioritize strength by doing less?
This sounds easy, but it is a struggle for most, including myself. If you have the mentality that each session has to be a “killer” it can be hard to walk out while feeling fresh, preserving energy for the next training session. Learning to have easy training sessions was one of my goals for 2016 and I am not going to lie—it’s hard. Even when I know that it is good for me.
“Chase progress, not fatigue” is a good motto to keep in mind when the devil (or is it angel?) appears on your shoulder whispering “go on, just a little bit more”. The devil can also be your buddy Marcus sitting on the bench press tempting you to test your max instead of calling it a day. Damn you, Marcus, with your sky blue eyes and your soft yet persistent voice whispering about bench pressing!
Ask yourself similar questions about your current goals, whether they involve deadlifting or not. Are you willing to go through the suffering to reach your target? Or are you interested in the end goal but not really in the progress?
If you want to lose 20kg but are not willing to sacrifice your nightly ice cream habit, we have a problem. Your actions don’t match the goal. If you want to cut down on drinking but can’t stop going to the pub with your mates after a day’s work, we have a problem.
Most people know what they need to change in their diet to lose weight. Yet we keep buying the latest magazines and reading the latest blog posts that describe the optimal ratio for macro nutrients. We are hoping to find the holy grail of nutrition information that will fix all of our problems. “This time, it will be different” you whisper, as you pick up the latest muscle and health magazine, holding it close to your chest.
I’ll bet you know people who are drastically overweight and struggling with their health, yet they know everything there is to know about healthy eating. They are walking encyclopedias of diet information, but they eat mostly at the place with golden arches and where people get served by a clown. They are knowledge hoarders without any true intention of using the information wisely.
You get the point. Goal setting is the easy part. All you have to do is put words on paper. Acquiring information is the easy part. The hard part is to come to terms with the fact that something has to give and you will have to suffer for your goals. Are you willing to go through that? If not, look for another goal or you’ll end up going in circles. Why do you think so many people set goals to lose fat and never get anywhere? They are not willing to sacrifice something. They are too comfortable being where they are. They don’t have the desire to leave the Shire because it might mean walking through Mordor.
My advice? Don’t try to make things perfect. A lot of people struggle as they try to make grand changes that won’t last. Even if something feels like a worthless change, it’s not. It’s a start. It’s better to lose one kilogram a year than not to lose anything at all. It’s better to save $1000 a year than to have no savings at all.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” here. But stop kidding yourself about what you are willing to work for. You deserve that much.
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