Jan 02

Don’t Be A Failure

Another year, another chance to wash away the habits and behaviors we have carried with us until this point and strive for self-improvement over the coming 12 months. The internet is awash in resolutions, goals, and optimism for the coming months.  Gyms will once again be filled with well intentioned people while those of us who attend regularly throughout the year silently curse the long waits for equipment, the crowds, the squat rack bogarted for curls.  But in the back of our minds we are silently counting the days until early February when the enthusiasm and dedication that burned so bright on January 1 has dulled and faded to the lackluster glow emanating from the TV as you sit and binge watch for hours, full of reasons why you can no longer get in shape, eat well, lose weight, etc. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. Let’s make this year different. Below are the top 5 reasons why you will fail to meet your resolutions, and how to finally achieve those goals and make 2015 your best year yet.NYE Fail

5) Fail to Set SMART Goals

If you’ve clicked on one of the gazillion articles clogging up social media this week on how to set goals, likely you have seen this acronym. For those of you unfamiliar, it stands for:

Specific: clearly define what you are going to do

Measurable: how will you identify when you have met your goal?

Achievable: a goal should be beyond your current capabilities but something you could do with some effort

Results-oriented: you are focused on a final result, not a singular action

Time-bound: set a reasonable deadline


So what does this mean in real life? An example of a common goal clients set is, “I’m going to get better at CrossFit.” As you can tell, while this is great in theory, it really doesn’t set any parameters to stick to. A better goal might be, “by the start of the Open I will achieve 10 unbroken double unders.” This goal is specific, rather than just “being better” you have identified a skill you will improve on. It is measurable, 10 double unders are something you can count. It is (hopefully) achievable and time-bound. If you have been consistently getting 1 or 2 reps at a time, with consistent practice you should be able to string 10 together by late February. You have a final result, rather than just saying improve my double unders.

4) Fail to Put Together a PLAN

Another example I commonly see with clients. I often hear people say, “I want to get a strict pull-up” or, “I want to get my first muscle-up” . I say, “great! What’s your plan?” I get a blank stare back. Setting goals is all fine and well, but if you haven’t figured out what actions you are going to take to achieve it, it’s unlikely to happen. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, the plan might be fairly simple or more elaborate. For example, in the double under example above, it might be to add 5-10 minutes of practice to warm-up or cool down 3 times a week. It might be to add one more rep a week until you get to 10. So if you can string together 3 now, next week you work to string together 4, the following 5, and so on…you might surprise yourself and skip right to 10 or more somewhere in there but the point it setting a goal isn’t enough, you have to determine the steps to actually see it realized. And if you aren’t successful in achieving your goal by a given time frame, maybe go back and edit your plan. Nothing is set in stone, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and change course.plan

3) Goals Do Not Align with Values

This is an idea I have been thinking about a lot of the past few months. My friend Coach Lizzie B took me to see Dr. Demartini speak a while ago, and the focal point of his lecture was that we all have a hierarchy of values that essentially control how we view and interact with the world. In my own training journey, I have frequently heard, “find your why”, that is why do you train? Why are you competing or striving for these goals? While they are slightly different ideas, I have been evolving my own thinking to realize that they are interrelated. Your values drive how you prioritize your time. They should therefore also help determine why the goals you have set are important to you. If your goal is created to impress others or because it is what you believe you should do, but not what you truly value, it is unlikely you will be successful. Additionally, I believe you should have a hierarchy of goals. If you don’t value training as the most important aspect of your life, but your top goal is to qualify for Regionals or some other high level competition, do your goals and values really align?  This is something I am coming to see more and more frequently. Life is complicated, it evolves, and we need to be honest with ourselves and those around us about what is important to us. What matters when we are 25 will likely not be the biggest priority at 35. That’s OK. But when you are creating goals based on an archaic set of values you will run into problems. So while I respect people who set a challenging and difficult goal such as qualifying for Nationals in weightlifting or podiuming at a Spartan race, make sure that your values are lined up with those goals. If the top of your values hierarchy is family, then career, then training you are not aligning your values and goals.


2) You Are Lazy

There. I said it. No one wants to hear it, and certainly no one wants to admit it, but many people are just too lazy to get what they want. A goal is something that you have to reach for, and to stretch yourself to achieve it requires…WORK. Great that you have the energy and passion to write down a SMART goal, and hopefully you’ve outlined a plan to achieve it, and you really believe it matters to you. Are you going to do whatever it takes in the coming months, the not so fun, not so easy parts, to achieve it? Are you willing to skip a night out with friends so you can get up the next day and give the gym 100%? Are you willing to put off buying the newest Lulu pants so that you can spend that money on a coach or supplements or high quality food? Are you going to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you are tired/sore/unmotivated/it gets hard? I like to call that grit, and this tends to be where most people fail. A lot of people can’t handle me as a coach because I tend to be pretty direct (re:blunt).  It’s really hard to strive for greatness. And while not every day on the journey is great, it’s showing up on those not so great days that set you up for success.

CLB work

1) You Don’t Have Fun

This is tied in to number 3 and 2 above, and is one I am still learning myself.  One of the surest ways to lose sight of your goals and get off track is to forget why you set them in the first place. While anything worth doing is going to include some struggles, you should also be enjoying the process.  If you aren’t, then why are you doing it? For me, that means focusing less on the outcome and enjoying the process of chasing a dream. My best training is always when I train with friends and have some laughs along the way. Try and find a community that shares and supports your goals.  This could be joining an online group such as the Whole 30, or finding a friend who wants to hang out a few days a week before or after class to work on a skill together.  Whatever it is, find a way to make it a social and enjoyable process. Help support and push each other.  A great support system goes a long way!


1 comment

  1. You! Drugstore

    This is a really nice article! Good motivation for anyone who has problem working out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>