Turning Goals into REALITY.
Goal setting is a topic that regularly brings up guilt. As movement coaches, it is a hard conversation to have with our students because it requires both parties to be direct and honest. Are we setting the right expectations for each other? And what is the ‘right’ goal or goals for our students to be working towards anyway?
Personally I see a few things happening with coaching and teaching right now that is really getting in the way of students accomplishing goals and staying motivated along the way.
No1: Students are overdoing themselves with too many movement projects at once. They want to achieve fluidity and sensitivity in their movement quality, AND the 60-sec free standing handstand, AND the doubleweight back squat, AND five muscle ups in a row, AND to improvise and perform in front of a crowd, AND run a marathon, AND compete in xyz, AND not get setbacks from previous injuries...so on and so forth.
As a result, nothing actually gets accomplished. Being busy is not the same as being accomplished.
Jack Simpson wrote a really great blogpost on delivering results and achieving personal goals. He said and I quote “ If you’re always starting interesting projects and not finishing, then no matter how hard you work, you’re just busy, not productive.” Ring a bell?
If you’ve been working consistently on your goals yet getting steadily frustrated, a few things could be happening:
The goal you picked on was too big to work on all at once. Perhaps it didn’t match your physicality and ability to commit your time and energy.
You didn’t break it down into manageable chunks.
You’re at a plateau phase right now and need to do something different in your program/diet/lifestyle to break through.
You lost the motivation and desire to work on the goal halfway through the process and ended up half-assing it. It’s not fun anymore.
We’ve been there. Not judging. Our take:
1. Instead of chasing the new, focus on perfecting and deepening what you are already working on. Accomplishments are accumulative, meaning it BUILDS up. Focus on your current achievements and making them even better. Eg: if you are making it to the gym every evening after work, then focus on increasing the challenge of your workouts vs trying to implement other tougher changes to your lifestyle. Schedule 15 minutes a day to work on your handstands, mobility, or lower back pain vs trying to train for a marathon at the same time.
2. Think of goals as projects with an end date. Break the project into tangible steps you can attack one by one to see progress. For example: If your goal is become more stronger and mobile, focus on accomplishing daily and weekly progress instead of one ‘big’ goal in 3 months. For a better framework, check out Scott H. Young’s guide to finishing projects that actually matter to you.
Ask yourself: what is the minimal state of completion this movement project needs to reach in order for me to consider it a success and an endeavor worthy of my time?*
If you are trying to lose weight and start an active, healthy lifestyle, what is the minimum amount of weight you would need to lose and minimum amount of time you would need to spend each week working out?
If by this end date, you have still not accomplished it, consider extending the deadline or moving this project from your ‘to-do’ list into your finished list -- you gave it a good shot! It may not be the progress or result you desire, but the upward trajectory of that project is what matters.
*Note that the changes in your body will take time depending on your genetic makeup and existing lifestyle. So, give yourself a realistic timeline!
3. Surround yourself with a A team (Accomplishers!). Working on a mutual goal is infinitely more rewarding than working on something solo. You don’t always need to have a personal trainer or coach. Consider attending classes that you find fun and rewarding and help you to train every week.
4. Tweak your process. Study a complementary skill set when you hit a plateau. Perhaps working on your hip mobility and power in a floorwork class will help you further in your weightlifting goals. Or increase your shoulder strength and bench presses by attending a handstand and gymnastic conditioning class. Go to a weekly acro class to get your back stronger and spine more mobile instead of working on drills alone at home. Maybe sign up for a Spartan race class in order to work on your personal goal of running a marathon?
For movement goals, if you dedicate many hours to this goal but only hit 80% of your target by the deadline you set, that is still an accomplishment! Please ask yourself whether these are realistic expectations you are demanding of your body, energy, and your time.
What does your goal actually mean to you? What do you really care about at the end of the day? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!