So….I’m writing about goals because I recently had a birthday. And that seems like a good time to reassess how I’m progressing with my fitness. This birthday also marks one year until I’m 40! Kind of a big deal!! I’ve always really enjoyed fitness and physical activity so this is an easier and more enjoyable task for me than it might be for others. However, some of the same guidelines still apply when thinking about goal setting.
SMART Goals! Yeah!!
Think SMART goals. SPECIFIC. MEASURABLE. ACHIEVABLE. RELEVANT/REALISTIC. TIME BASED. Start here with your goals meeting this criteria. If you’re goal doesn’t meet these five items you may want to rethink it.
The importance of WHY?
What about the WHY?! The WHY is the most important part. Why do you ever even want to achieve these goals. Are you somehow going to be a better person? The person you’ve always wanted to be?? Let’s be honest, a fitness goal probably isn’t going to do that for you. Yes, you may become a healthier version of you. (Which I think is outstanding and definitely worth working towards.) You may even reflect what our health and fitness culture view as looking better or more desirable. (I would encourage you to not get too caught up in this.)
The WHY is what’s going to make achieving your goal/goals actually happen. The WHY is the juicy part, and without it, who really cares. Your goals aren’t going to care when they’ve fallen by the wayside because of a lack of why. Your WHY is what’s going to keep you working towards your goals when a busy life/laziness/lack of motivation try to prevent you from reaching them.
What are my WHYs?
My WHYs are multifaceted. First, I have children. They’re still young enough to think I’m cool. And as a father who want nothing more than to be an amazing dad, I want to impress my kids. Second, I grew up the skinny weak kid. It’s amazing how things from our childhood stick with us. I began working out when I was 19 to change this and it continues to be one of my driving motivations. Third, we have this gym full of amazing members, clients and friends who come in and bust-A$$ daily. If I expect them (which is probably you) to work hard, I better do the same. After all, growing together in a supportive and truly healthy community is why we have Evolve.
So what are my goals??
On my 40th birthday I would like to be able to:
- Deadlift 2X my body weight.
- Box jump 44 inches.
- Turkish get-up Darth KB.
- Hold a handstand.
- Do the splits.
WHY are these my goals?
2X your bodyweight is a loose lifting consideration of strong. I’ve never achieved this before….I’ve gotten close. Plus deadlifting heavy is a fun challenge. I really like deadlifting! As a six foot tall white boy who can’t jump, performing a 44 inch box jump makes me feel like I CAN jump. I can do this currently, so it’s more a maintenance of health and mobility as I look to build more strength and stability. Plus, a heavy deadlift with a high box jump equals well rounded athleticism in my mind. And well rounded athleticism is something I’m always striving for.
Goal three represents pretty solid strength, stability and mobility all combined into one move. Darth KB weighs 70 lb. I can currently perform a very clean turkish get up (with the weight in either hand) with our 50 lb. KB. Since we don’t have any KBs in-between 50 and 70 lb. I sense some make shift KBs in my future as I work my way up to the 70.
Goals four and five are where my daughters provide some extra motivation. And for these two goals I’m really going to need their help. They both do martial arts. One is about to be a junior black belt. As a result of their work in martial arts, they can both do the splits and are working on holding their handstands. I’m fortunate to by pretty flexible by nature. I did gymnastics as a child and have held on to a lot of that mobility. (Also, thank you mom.) However, for the last several years I’ve been wanting to achieve goals four and five, but haven’t had anyone to hold my feet to the fire. The good news is my girls will do that. And they’re great to work on these two goals with.
A year is a long way out
Beyond these “5 big goals” for 40. I have another goal, more short term, to keep me on track. I would like to finish the Spartan Race Elite heat in the top 25. Last year I was 47th. I had an injury that derailed my training, so I think I can make this happen. This will be a challenge. It will take some solid focus leading up to the event and diligence with my training, but definitely doable. This is a well rounded athleticism goal I can work towards, plus an event I can do with friends.
What about looking better, loosing weight and becoming the person I was always destined to be with my better body?
You’ll notice all my goals are physical accomplishments. None of my goals involve a desired weight, body fat percentage, or “looking lean and toned.” Not that you shouldn’t use these as goals. But DON’T rely solely on these as your goals and intrinsic motivation to get you there. It may work, but as someone who has been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years, this does not often result in long term success. Of course there is vanity in my goals as well. I began working out at age 19 because I wanted to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. 20 years later I still want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.
However, the only way I’m going to look like that is to be way more diligent than I care to be with nutrition, get a spray tan, dehydrate myself and perpetually be oiled up. When we strive to loose weight, or get lean and toned, or look how the fitness industry says we should look; we’re setting ourselves up for failure. And that’s because there’s always more weight to loose. There’s always leaner and more toned. Chasing a false image is pointless.
Health and fitness comes in ALL sizes and shapes. For those who want to be lean, I’ve lucked out. However, for those who want to be strong and durable, that takes an incredible amount of work for me. All of our bodies are different. Therefore we will look different. Getting caught up in an aesthetic battle will most likely NOT bring you the satisfaction you’re looking for. But feeling STRONG, that’s something that will feel great and stay with you a while.
So in closing
Use birthdays, New Year’s or events as a time for goal setting. Goal setting is necessary to keep forward momentum and motivation. Use SMART goals to clearly define your goals and what success looks like. Make sure you have a strong WHY. Such as being a healthy role model for a friend. Or for your children or grandchildren. Accomplish a bike ride, cool trail hike, personal record on a lift, a race that seems like a good challenge to you. Choose more meaningful WHYs than to simply loose weight or get lean and toned. Inspire your community to be more active and healthy. No WHY is too small. So go and achieve great things.
I’ll leave you with this, my wife and I have this fun saying every year around our birthdays. It goes like this, “I’m 39, BUT I’m in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!” Of course it’s a joke, but one that can have some truth to it.