Setting Goals & Indicators | What they're, what they're not and why you need them.
This is a very important principle that no Lifter can skip over, that is Goals vs Indicators.
A quick read for you lifters looking to get more clarity on why you need both goals & indicators if you want to reach your goals as quickly as possible, and without any wasted frustrations, energy or time heading in the wrong direction.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” - Seneca
Let’s start with the obvious, why you need goals
You need goals to:
Work systematically - if you know where you are going, you’ll get there faster by being able to create a clear and concise way of arriving ie: having the right training plan, nutrition approach and lifestyle habits in place.
Adjust accordingly - if you know the destination, you can adjust your methods to match that course by being able to first IDENTIFY if you are off course, second by how much, and third what the best way to readjust is (towards where).
Keep you motivated - working towards a goal gives us a feeling of meaningfulness, motivating and empowering us by giving us a clear finish line!
Your desired goal is an important and useful tool for the pursuit of achievement. The problem arises when the goal is confused with the indicators that we use to monitor our progress.
For example, let’s say your goal is to drive to Miami from Toronto. The distance is 1486 miles. Throughout your trip, you sometimes glance at the car’s distance-log to see how many miles you have left on until you make it to Miami Beach.
Now try to think that these 1486 miles themselves become the distance you need to travel to reach your fitness goals. You jump in the car and just start driving, watching the distance-log roll over to the 1486-mile marker.
Would that make any sense? Of course not!
Your goal is to arrive in Miami, not travel a specific distance. The latter one is just the indicator to see if you are getting closer to your destination.
Similarly, we make this same mistake when it comes to evolving into our preferred physique constantly. The most abused indicator here is weight. We tend to make our “ideal” weight the only goal for us.
“I need to lose/gain 30 pounds”
What is the problem with this? The problem is that when we focus on this indicator, we forget that our body weight isn’t 100% fat or muscle.
It matters a lot how much of those 30 pounds is fat, how much muscle, and how much is water. It's an ever-repeating problem that when people focus on just the weight number, they don’t care what they do so long as they get closer to the goal.
Depending on what direction you started driving, you could log the exact mileage that would take you to your destination, or it could send you in the exact opposite direction.
The worst thing that people do when trying to lose fat is losing most of their muscle mass. It is very easy to do it and most dieters do it by not incorporating the proper training routine and spending too much time only doing cardio.
That’s why indicators shouldn’t be goals and should be set aside as a means to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your Systems.
But how do you know what your goal is?
I might be shooting in the dark here, but I’m pretty confident that we all have the same goal: we want to enjoy a better life more. One with a better looking and performing body.
Looking Good, Feeling Good, and Playing Better
This is our overarching-goal. But this doesn’t help us much without sub-goals.
We need short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Let's look at another example to make sense of this.
The overarching-goal: enjoy the best life possible.
Long-term sub-goal(1+ years): be as happy & healthy as possible - indicated by reaching and maintaining ideal physique, strength and energy levels
Medium-term sub-goal (3-12 months): solidify new lifestyle habits and routines - indicated by things like hours spent physically active per week and sleep schedule consistency .
Short-term sub-goals (up to 3 months): start to learn new habits, create routines and systems, get a coach, start a new nutrition plan - indicated by macronutrients intake per day, weekly weight average, body circumference check ins, etc.
You need goals for every period and you need to choose the correct key indicators for each goal.
This is a hard thing to learn to do and it can take years to master when you don’t know what to look for.
The best advice for you at this point is for you to sit down, write down your overarching goal and its main indicators while keeping it as simple as possible.
Ie: I want to gain muscle mass and not fat
My indicators would be my weight increasing, my strength increasing and my abs NOT disappearing.
Return to these indicators weekly.
You will always learn best by doing and reviewing.
Don’t settle for just: “I need to lose 30 pounds”.
Your Dream Body is within reach and just on the other side of your evolution