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Goals: Part I

Hello fellow Strongcreatures! It’s less than 30 days into 2022 and it’s already been eventful. First and foremost, I took the opportunity to use my platform to raise donations for the Special Olympics. This is one of those groups that I feel do ACTUAL good in this world. I try to donate every year, but this year is special. It’s special because last year I met my OUTCOME goals of deadlifting over 500lbs (PR 550lbs) and consistently overhead pressing over 200lbs (PR 215lbs). This year I have additional OUTCOME and PROCESS goals, but I wanted to start the year with some give-back. The Kansas City Polar Plunge (in support of the Special Olympics Missouri) is next Saturday (January 29, 2022). I am hoping the Strongcreature Squad raises enough money to allow each of our team members a chance to plunge (each team member must raise at least $75 by event day). Regardless, I have promised to plunge (submerged) 1 second for every 1 dollar donated to the team. So far, my friends have not disappointed, and we’ve raised enough money for me to be plunged for just under 2.5 minutes. In addition to the promise to plunge, I also promise my readers an in depth update post-plunge with pictures and a part deuce to this blog post. So, without further ado…

This time last year I was only beginning my journey with earnest into strength sports. I had been lifting fairly regularly, but without tangible outcome or process goals spoken and written. I believe that goals are often not realized because they are missing either being spoken or written, and both are important. So, the first post of the year is going to be focused on the process of goal setting, the difference between process and outcome goals, SMART goals, and similar shenanigans.

Imagine it’s the end of the year and you want to start training for [insert sport competition here]. That competition/meet/tournament/challenge is your OUTCOME goal. During my first year as a USS novice competitor, I had two primary OUTCOME goals: compete in a USS sanctioned meet and deadlift over 500lbs. I met and exceeded both of those goals. But why? And what about the process to achieving those goals? Well, you must first have PROCESS goals. Those are the goals that get you moving, that get you focused on the OUTCOME goal, and the goals that keep you motivated. My PROCESS goal was to lift within a planned programming framework at least 4 days/week. Did I achieve this goal? Yes, 2021 was quite possibly my most consistent year of any physical training in my entire life. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Sure, OUTCOME and PROCESS goals seem easy enough, but how do I attain these goals?” And you would be all kinds of right in asking that question.

FIRST! WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN! I don’t care if they are Sharpied on your forearm. But write your damn goals down! SECOND! SPEAK YOUR GOALS OUT LOUD! I also don’t care if you say them as a yoga mantra or if you scream them off of the second-floor balcony of your local theatre. Just. Speak. Them. Please, please, please trust me. If you do both of these things AND your goals are SMART, it will be much easier to meet and exceed them. And now who is reading this thinking, “well of course I need smart goals… I certainly don’t want stupid ones.” Well, I was right there with you. But SMART is acronym, not an adjective. If you want to succeed your goals need to be: Specific, Measurable, ACHIEVABLE, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s break this down.

SPECIFIC. Don’t be arbitrary with your goals. Saying you will “go to the gym every week” is just plain… weak. It’s not specific. It gives you all kinds of room to fail. Hell, if you went to the gym and sat down at a Smith Machine and played Angry Birds on your phone for an hour once a week, you technically achieved your goal. However, did you gain anything from these four hours a month? Probably not… maybe stronger thumbs. Instead, make this PROCESS goal specific: “I will weightlift at my gym at least 4 times per week for 30-60 minutes depending on my personal programming.” This goal is MUCH better, probably not perfect, but better.

MEASURABLE. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy… Can you quantifiably measure your goal? For example, can you measure success or failure if you state you will “workout at your gym.” ? No, no you cannot. It’s too subjective. It’s not measurable. Instead, “I will workout at my gym at least 4 times per week” can be measured. If you only work out 3 days in a week you know you didn’t quite meet your expectations in relation to that PROCESS goal, and you need to adjust your goal or your lifestyle.

ACHIEVABLE. Okay, this one I capitalized earlier for a reason. If you have never stepped foot in a weight room/gym/etc. for any real length of time and your OUTCOME goal is to bench press 2 times your body weight you are probably well outside ACHIEVABLE. I beg of you, please, keep your goals achievable. The boost of confidence by meeting your expectations is worth a thousand times more than an unachievable OUTCOME or PERFORMANCE goal.

Ok, the first few pieces to effective goal setting are laid out for you, but I’m going to let that bit settle with you and expand and continue in my second blog post, immediately after the Kansas City Polar Plunge. Keep training Strongcreatures and keep your eyes peeled for Part II (The Deuce)! Strength and Honor.

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