Welcome back! It’s always great to have you here and today I thought we could discuss goal setting, but in a bit more of a refined sense of that broad term. Having a goal is great because when you have that destination clearly defined it makes everything you do just another logical step. That much we already know, so today I’d like to get into one of my own pitfalls when it comes to setting goals in the gym, and that is choosing which specific goal I’m going to follow.
It’s easy to choose a broad, general goal like getting to the gym to get in shape, but because that isn’t really a goal as much as it is a general idea, it’s going to be tough to stay motivated simply because you aren’t really working toward anything in particular. I covered this specific scenario in my ‘Intent Is Everything’ post a little while back. In that post I outlined how important it is to have a clearly defined goal with a time frame attached to it so you are truly striving with purpose each and every time you train. This write up isn’t on how important it is to have a clearly defined goal. The focus of this entry is how to choose that goal.
Getting back to where this is one of my personal weak points for a second, I know what I want to accomplish and I set forth a plan to achieve that goal. I then put my nose to the grindstone and set about making it happen. I progress quickly and get close to where I planned, and then out of nowhere I start to alter the plan that was working so well. Perhaps it’s an attempt to add variety or change things up a little. A very short while later, a matter of a month or so, I’ll realize that I no longer am following the same plan and now am headed in another direction or worse, no direction at all.
So what happened? Well one thing was I lost focus. It wasn’t because I didn’t have a clearly defined goal, because I did. It also wasn’t because I didn’t have a plan because I did. There was a flaw in the plan however, as it didn’t have enough variety or have a safety valve built in to relieve the massive amount of monotony that was building up. As a result, I started looking elsewhere for my thrills in the gym, and for a time my progress towards my goal was at very least halted.
So what’s the message then, you may be asking. I should have had a more detailed plan, would that have solved my occasional wanderings off the path that I occasionally undertake? Well I guess that would at the very least prolong the inevitable for a little longer.
If you’ve been paying attention, and I bet you have, you noticed that the title of this is ‘How To Chose Your Path’, and that’s the answer. Allow me to clarify. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a goal or a plan, it’s that I’m human and I got bored and wandered off, so the lifer of the iron game has to be smart enough to allow for this to happen, and get right back on plan after the cravings for change are satisfied.
That’s the path that needs to be chosen and followed. The path that allows for the us to be human at times and still continue to progress toward our goals. So now let’s get into a few different ways of accomplishing the goal of not having a goal while still working toward the goal. Makes sense, right?
If you’re a weekend athlete or do outdoor activities on the weekends, then you’re set. Instead of those weekends as your off days off, count them as training days and take a day off from your weight training schedule to compensate for the extra activity. If you’re hiking for hours or playing soccer on your weekends for example, you definitely are training your body. Maybe not as intensely as you do when you’re weight training but the point of counting these days as training days is to keep the focus during those weight training sessions so they don’t become monotonous.
If you’re in the majority, and your gym training is your weekday as well as your weekend activity, then maybe there’s some variety that can be added in to diversify things at least somewhat. The classes that may be offered at your gym could be an easy place to start. Yoga or some of the aerobic/weight hybrid classes that are en vogue may do the trick to keep the fires stoked for the long grind of year in and year out training. Swimming a few times a week is another terrific option to get a complete body workout in, and your joints always feel great afterwards.
Another slightly less obvious choice is to find a training partner for some of your workouts if you’re doing them solo. Conversely, if you are training with someone then perhaps a few individual gym visits may be enough to give you the change in perspective you may at times need.
Perhaps the title should have been ‘Maybe A Path That Has Lots of Twists and Turns in it Will Help You Attain Your Goals by way of Preventing Boredom and Therefore Deviation From Your Plan’. On second thought, I think the shorter one was the better choice after all. Sometimes the most fun to be had on a long road trip are the little detours along the way. Don’t worry, you’ll still get to your destination so enjoy the ride. Until next time,