Hopefully we all have a goal in mind for our training – a target we want to achieve that makes the hard work more bearable and gives us focus on the days we question our why.
That goal could and should be different for everyone. It might be to learn a particular skill or movement, it might be to lift a certain load or achieve a certain volume of repetitions, it might be to lose or gain a certain amount of weight. There are a thousand different goals you could have and all are equally as important.
Where most of us fall down on our goals is patience. We are impatient beings and we are now used to an instant society where everything we want is attainable pretty fast. Next day delivery, instant downloads and microwave pretty much anything means the idea of waiting is somewhat annoying.
But when it comes to our goals there is usually no quick route and our impatience is born out of one error that we consistently make – we misjudge what it actually costs to achieve that goal. Impatience comes when we think something should be easier / faster / more attainable than it is.
If you decided to build you own house you wouldn’t be annoyed at the prospect that it would take months and months of hard work to finish the task. This is because, generally, we will have made an accurate calculation of what it actually takes to build a house and we would therefore manage our expectations accordingly. We would understand we would need to spend a long time building foundations, laying pipework and connecting utilities before we would start to work on anything that even looked like a building. We would then start creating a structure from the ground level up, pretty basic at first, until we had a rough version of the finished product. We would then start honing it, adding the technical stuff like electrics, plumbing and what not. Eventually we would have something that looked like a house and we would then work on making it look all pretty and like the houses we see online.
Unfortunately, most of us suck at doing this with fitness goals. We see the end result we want, the house, but we fail to properly acknowledge what it takes, the building work. We therefore become annoyed or disheartened when we don’t achieve the goal in the time frame we originally thought possible.
If we use the ring muscle up as an example (as I know this is a common goal for lots of people) you wouldn’t expect to just be able to do one. But we might think that once we can do a few pull ups, a few dips and can string together some kipping pull ups then surely our goal is in sight.
In reality we need to build the strength (the foundations) for every part of the movement. We need to understand the movement (the utility connections) and understand mentally how it should look and feel. We then need to use progressions and scaling to create something that looks like the movement (the walls of our house) we can then add in the technical elements (the plumbing and electrics) before we decorate and make it look all pretty.
Our impatience is a fear. A fear of never achieving the goal we have in mind in the time frame we have set. Impatience makes us focus on the future and outcomes that don’t yet exist. We need patience to focus on the now. Use the now to set and adjust realistic time frames for our goal and then be content with every progression towards that goal, not just the end result.
If you’ve ever been part of a house build or any other big project you get satisfaction from every little bit of progress. The first concrete going down, the first brick stacked, the first tap fitted and the first room to be plastered. Taking this approach to your fitness goals is important to keep on track and keep feeling satisfied. Using a lighter band on the road to a pull up, running 6k on the way to a 10k goal, your work trousers feeling slightly looser – these are all little steps towards that bigger goal.
So, reevaluate your goal. What is the cost of reaching it? How long will it take to pay off that cost? What are the practical steps to achieve that goal? What small victories can I celebrate along the way. Be patient, focus on the now and enjoy the process, it is often more rewarding than the journey.
(If you want or need help setting a goal, creating an action plan for that goal or making realistic expectations just ask one of the coaches and we will do all we can to help!)