Make your Goal Setting SMARTER
by John Gaglione
“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
People want to get stronger, leaner, faster, but often times they do not have a goal in mind. Let me ask you something, would you go on a trip without a destination? Would you travel somewhere without a map, GPS, or directions? If you do not no where you are going then it is impossible to get better and reach your goals.
In order to get better you need a PLAN of attack. You need to write down you goals. By writing down your goals this makes the task real and tangible. Before you write it down the goal is just a thought, an idea a dream. Make the goal real by writing it down and put the goal some place where you can see it every day in order to remind you of what it is you are working on.
Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely. I will give an example of a goal I had of squatting 675 pounds at my last power lifting meet, but the information in this article can be applied to any goal.
I wanted to squat at least 675(which is 7 plates on each side on a normal 45lb bar). My goal was not to simply squat more, I had a specific number in mind for a specific competition. A person may want to lose 10% body fat or 15 pounds. These are all numbers than can be quantified and measure in a certain amount of time. Specific really entails of the other elements as well.
Make sure the goal is measurable. I wanted to squat 675 at my next powerlifting competition. The way I measure the goal is by going to the meet and getting on the platform in front of three judges. The judges will make sure my form is good and I make good depth. If I don’t do a squat according to the rules the lift will not count.
If someones goal is fat loss they should know how much they want to lose. Numbers and units help us quantify what we are doing. I want to look better is not a good goal, because better is very vague. I want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months is a good goal because it is something we can measure with a scale. Some people may not care how much they weight, but they want a six pack. There will be certain weight and body fat percentage that will give them that look and that number should be their goal.
Goals should be realistic. I squatted 690 in training, but it was a little high and my form was a little off. In a competition if you are a little high the squat will not count. Even though my depth was questionable I was confident that I had the strength to squat at least 675 to proper depth. I also had a plan of attack to reach my goal. I trained with several powerlifters who were better than me. Many of the people I had trained with squatted more than, 700, 800, and even 900 pounds. I surrounded myself with good people and I got better as a result. I was in a realistic setting for reaching my goal. I was consistently pushing to have better form and work harder each and every workout. The other thing that helped a lot is I saw many people squat in excess of 700 pounds every week so in my brain I knew I could eventually do it too.
The environment you are in is crucial for success. If you want to lose weight you should be around people who support your goals. If you want to become a better wrestler you should wrestle with people who have more experience and better technique than you. People need to get out of their comfort zone and be challenged in order to get better.
Many times people ask me why do I compete in powerlifting? As a an athlete growing up I always went 100% in every drill and in every training session in order to get better. I learned as an athlete that the harder your work the better you will get, but you also need to work intelligently as well. Now I am a strength coach and a trainer I want to continue to get stronger and smarter in order to help myself as well as my clients. If I wasn’t constantly trying to get stronger why should anyone listen to me about strength. I will constantly push myself to my body’s limit, the same my I expect my athletes and clients to do. I strive to not only “talk the talk” , but more importantly “walk the walk.” I want to be a role model for my athletes/clients, inspire them to do better and achieve their goals.
Make sure your goals have meaning to you. Why do you want to get leaner, jump higher, or run faster? Make sure these goals are relevant to your life and have meaning. I know when I played sports I learned many life lessons about team work, work ethic, sacrifice, and goal setting. Training for sports taught me so much about life and helped prepared me for the real world and molded me into a better coach and trainer as a result.
Make sure you have a time frame for each goal and set mini goals along the way. I knew in order to squat 675 at some point I would have to squat 600 first, then 650 and so forth. My goal was to squat 675 on August 7th 2010, which goes back to being very specific. Make sure you have enough time to complete your goal and don’t be afraid to re-adjust your time frame if you don’t make it. Constantly log your progress in order to see if you are approaching your goal. I keep track of my lifts in an exercise journal on my computer to track my progress and to see if I am getting stronger. This also helps me see what assistance exercises are working for me.
If you are trying to get leaner keep a food journal. Keep track of what your are eating. Many times just by writing the food down will help you eat better since you are more conscious of how much you are eating and what you are eating. You should also weigh yourself once a week at the same time in the same clothes in order to monitor progress for weight loss.
I hope these tips will inspire you to have SMART goals for the rest of the year. And in case you are wondering I did get a 675 squat at my meet and I already have my goals written down for the next one!
Work hard and work SMART and you will achieve all of your goals whether it be in fitness or just in life!
Educate, Motivate, Dominate