Defrauding Goal Failures: How Creating Challenges Can Help You

One of the articles on my cork board is by Charles Poliquin and is titled “6 Steps To Effective Goal Setting”. Since this article is relevant to the one you’re reading now I will give you some cliff notes and bullet points.

Serious trainers are goal-setters. They aim to surpass old milestones while reaching to achieve new ones. Consider the following steps in your path to building your strength successfully:

Step 1: Determine the goal in a specific and measurable way with a deadline.

Step 2: Assess your starting physiology

Step 3: What are you willing to do?

Step 4: Determine the behaviors that go with Step 3

Step 5: Make a list of intermediate goals with deadlines.

Step 6: Keep a detailed training and dietary log.

This is great stuff. But there’s one little problem I’ve seen with goal setting. It doesn’t work for many. Perhaps it’s because we’re so used to failing at goals that they’re no longer important for us subconsciously. Here’s something that might work though. Replace the word “goal” for “challenge” and set up a short time frame for the challenge. Challenges are more meaningful to people and more measurable. Either you achieve the challenge or you don’t. With goals it’s not always so black and white, especially when they’re long term goals.

I like short time duration challenges. Like challenging yourself to do something for one day or one to two weeks. With this you can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully after conquering your challenge you’ll be more empowered for bigger ones.

TRX ATOMIC PUSH UPS: A challenge we’ve had at USI lately has been to see who can get the post reps with on this. Here’s Jeff Taylor, one of my jiu jitsu athletes, banging out 45 clean reps.

A few days later it was beat by 47. These short term challenges can be small steps to ultimately achieving a bigger goal. A way to sort of trick yourself into the long term achievement of BHAGS – Big Hairy Audacious Goals (I stole that term from Jim Collins).

I do believe in goals. I know I said they don’t work for most people and there’s several reasons for that. But I believe short term challenges can really help get you to a bigger goal. Give this a try before you knock it. Conquer it, and maybe you’ll feel like Cristiano Ronaldo (the guy at the top of the article).

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