Many things in life are made to be cherished and appreciated. Some are made to be enjoyed for a short time like a nice meal with friends or an exotic vacation; some are made to last forever like a magnificent idea or a sturdy kettlebell. Others are made for the sole purpose of being destroyed. To me, this is what makes life worth living. I love food, vacations, ideas, and God knows the kettlebell has a special place in my heart, but what really makes me feel alive is setting up goals only to knock them down and replace them with new ones. The best part about pushing yourself to accomplish the unthinkable is doing it again. One goal down, one more to go. One more down, one more to go. Forever.
Goals are usually thought of as being the finish line, but often they become the new starting point. As soon as a client achieves their goal (whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, increase in athletic performance, etc.) they realize two things. The first is that it was not as hard as they thought it would be and the second is that they aren’t quite done. There’s always another goal waiting in the back of their mind that used to be on the fringe of hopes and dreams that seemed too far out of reach. Once the first goal is smashed, those fringe thoughts seem right around the corner. Now is the time to set up another target.
Therefore, goals should always be broken down into the categories of long-term goals and short-term goals. The long-term goal should be the perceived “finish line” and the short-term goals are the “check points” to keep you moving in the right direction. This approach can be used for any goal. Using myself as an example, I recently decided to compete in the Strong First Tactical Strength Challenge in October. The TSC is my “Final” goal because that will be the accumulation of my training. Everything I have trained for will come to fruition by the day of the competition. My short-term goals will keep my strength and endurance growing until that day.
I planned these out into blocks of my training schedule. These blocks are my way of staying on course, but I may change them up if I feel my progression slipping in another area. For example, let’s say that the plan for the week is to focus on my pull-ups, but I feel that I really need to add focus to my deadlift. The periodization is fluid so that I can make adjustments and remain on track for the challenge as a whole. In this example the short-term will change, but the long-term is still in sight. This could also be used to work around injuries, or days of extreme soreness. These small tweaks can be beneficial, but do not get carried away with them. It is easy to go from minor modifications to program hopping. This can be very detrimental to training because there is no strategy in place. When in doubt, I can always go back to the original plan to make sure that the change will be a good fit. This is my way of getting back on track as soon as possible. If I am modifying to work around an injury, I’m not afraid of taking a step back as long as it gives me the opportunity to take multiple steps forward without risking time off.
Be sure to check out Goal Setting Part 2: Stay Motivated