FAILURE TO LAUNCH
When we talk about setting goals we’re primarily pointing out the things about ourselves or our lives that we want hope to be different. To us, we are currently at point A, and we really want to get to point B. Essentially, a goal recognizes that there is a gap between where you are right now and where you’d like to be. That gap from where you are now to where you want to be isn’t as daunting as you think. It’s not about jumping the gap, it’s about closing the gap with small points of action. As a gym we'd like to offer an anecdote to the traditional goal setting mentality. If you hate it, that’s totally fine but I have a suspicion that it may be exactly what you need to make the progress you want.
New Years resolutions are an excellent example of a horrible goal setting tactic. Of just Americans, 80% of people who set new years resolutions have given up by February. By the end of the year Under 8% of those who set resolutions actually end up following through in any sort of effective way. So this intense approach to changing something about your life works super well, just not for 92% of the population.
That 92% is given a really tough reputation. We like to assume it’s because they’re unmotivated, weak-minded, and don’t have the will-power to follow through. I’d argue that the system of change itself is what sets them up for failure from the start. Also 100% of us fall into that 92% of the population category. In some way, each one of us has experienced what it feels like to tap out of trying to reach a goal we were so passionate about pursuing. The goal setting system sucks. Not only does it not work, but it leaves you feeling like a complete failure in the process.
It’s very simple. We don’t ever reach the goals we set, because it’s not goals we are setting in the first place. What we’re actually setting are outcomes, results, or events.
SETTING THE RIGHT GOALS
Let’s first talk about a primary reason people are often unsuccessful in reaching goals. We can become easily frustrated and experience failure in our goals because we’re setting ridiculous, unachievable goals in the first place. Our quick-service, consumer-obsessed, and give-it-to-me-now culture has brain washed us into believing that when we decide we want something, we’re going to get it. Well there’s this idea that’s really helpful when we consider what goals are appropriate to set in the first place. It’s the concept of the “Law of Diminishing Investment." We like to think about this using the metaphor of climbing a mountain with 5 peaks.
To get to peak 1, it requires a moderate investment. Peak 2, a bit more. Peak 3, the reward opportunity is high, but the risk is growing. Peak 4, you’re taking a huge swing. Peak 5, everything you have is required…you’re betting the house and sacrificing everything else to summit the top of the entire mountain.
The idea here is that you first need to know what level you want to reach, and secondly you need to understand what investment is required to do so. The third, and most difficult step, is to honestly ask yourself if you’re willing to put what’s required in to reach that level.
So let’s connect that to fitness. Here are the levels and what they entail.
You have a limited amount of energy and time. The higher you choose to climb one mountain will limit how much energy you can give to climbing another.
MEASURING SUCCESS RIGHTLY
It is the most unhelpful thing to set goals you have no intention of doing what’s required to reach. You will never feel successful because you’ll always be measuring success with the wrong metrics.
I’m not saying to aim low - aiming low is for cowards. I’m saying to aim right. Set your intent, own it, and be proud of it. Reaching any one of these levels on the health and fitness continuum is worthy of being proud of. Just stop comparing a peak 2 life to peak 5 results. It’s also REALLY helpful to determine this so that you stop making inappropriate investments based on your desired results. You shouldn’t need Level 5 investment in any capacity for level 2 results and you’ll burn yourself out by doing that.
We walk alongside people to help them set scary, yet attainable goals and to understand what kind of investment it's going to require to reach them. Your journey is your own and should not be compared to anyone else's. Who you become in the process of reaching your "peak" is so much more rewarding than reaching the peak itself.