Do you have a goal?
I’d bet my protein shaker on it.
We all do don’t we?
The essence of fitness plans is the pursuit of an intangible point in the future.
Abs, a bigger squat, larger arms or confidence on the beach – in this world we are goals galore and a quick google search will reveal a whole host of approaches to setting up some goals for your journey
For every article on the subject, there is an acronym or complex concept to describe some convoluted hockey-cokey that you need to perform before you actually do anything.
The problem with all of this is that setting goals feels REALLY good.
If you’re like me, when you’re feeling a little disconnected from progress or you feel like things are no longer heading in the right direction, you may find yourself reading an article about the fancy, different method of guaranteed goal setting success.
Before you know it, you’ve re-vamped everything you’re doing and started from scratch again.
You may have the most complicated, pointless set of steps and hurdles to complete but you now feel AMAZING about your new goal and system – it’s like you’ve already won!
Ever since I read the 12 week year, a good while ago now and since our chat with the amazing Mr Paul Mort, I realised that for most of my life, I’d been making this stuff far too complex.
If you listed to the podcast with Paul, you may have come across the part where he mentions Core 4, Key 4 and 90 day goals. This is the tip of the Iceberg that is WakeUpWarrior by Garret J White but a lot of the main principles have been written about for decades.
Why 90 days?
There’s nothing magical about this number, it can be 12 weeks, 8 weeks, 100 days or whatever is convenient.
The key is that it’s not so far in the future that the deadline loses urgency and not so close to the present that it would be unrealistic to expect any change
From this point, in principle, it is extremely simple. You just consider:
“What would I like to achieve in this part of my life over the next 90 days?”
And as crazy as it sounds, this is where I always trip up.
What is realistic? What is too little? What is too much?
I’d go back and forth, setting goals that were too ambitious and goals that were pointless – lots and lots of failed, irritating attempts to master something so simple.
The system that I now use in my own training and with all my clients I wrote about at length in our downloadable Tracking Guide.
However, there is one key takeaway that I want to share today, a point which I think many miss.
There is absolutely NO point in setting stagnant goals at a fixed point in the future.
Something like “I want to lose x by the 1st of July” is near enough pointless if you’re managing the process on your own and not being coached.
Simple, you’ll focus everything on that point and more than likely you’ll just move the goalposts as you near the deadline.
What we need is a process goal.
This isn’t complicated, it’s really simple.
Grab a pen and paper and separate it into 7 columns, label each as a day of the week, do this on both sides of the paper.
On one side write actions that you currently do on each day. Not what you’d like to do. What you ACTUALLY do. You can use the past as a good example for this. Obviously it makes sense to keep these points relevant to what you’re trying to do.
So, you could write:
- How many calories and how much protein you ate each day
- How many hours of sleep you got.
- Whether you made it to the gym, what you did and WHY
- Did you do any actions to improve your systems around your diet and training? Such as meal prep, planning in advance or tracking everything on a spreadsheet to gets a birds eye view?
- Did you weigh yourself each day? What did your weight do across the week?
This is your current reality.
Where you are NOW is a result of this reality, nothing else. It’s the result of your ability to manage the variables that matter around your schedule.
On the reverse of the paper, write what an ideal week would look like for the pursuit of your goal.
Of course, this is where some people will argue that they don’t know enough to be able to do this accurately and that may be so, but you know enough to make at least a vague template.
- Eat X calories and Y protein per day
- Sleep 7-8 hours on average
- Train using X template 4 days per week, no matter what
- Plan meals in MyFitnessPal in advance, use calorie smoothing, 48 hour macros etc
- Weigh in every day and make calorie adjustments based on the average
When you compare the two, you can see how far away your process currently IS from what it SHOULD be.
Now, the goal setting process becomes super simple.
Each week, pick one of the criteria that you have listed and break it down into 3-5 steps. E.g.
You need to eat 2,450kcal per day and 180g protein. Currently you eat 2,900-3,200kcal per day and 80g protein.
Step 1) Make a list of protein dominant foods to pick up from the shop this week, buy some whey protein and, using MyFitnessPal, map out what a day of 2,450kcal would look like, including foods I enjoy
Step 2) For 3 days in a row, eat 2,750kcal and 120g protein
Step 3) For 3 days in a row, eat 2,600kcal and 160g protein
Step 4) Drop to 2,450kcal and 180g protein. Stay with this until you need to change calories.
This way, over just over a week, you’ve changed your current process in one of the required areas to what it needs to be and you’ve respected the fact that making sustainable changes takes time.
Now, you can perform the same integration changes for each of the required actions and set your end target of having your actual week look exactly like the perfect one.
Once you’re at that point, focus on what can be better.
Consider how you can tighten the systems you have in place to ensure that everything is more efficient and effective.
Focus on what you can control – the process – the result will take care of itself.