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Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Year Resolutions = Failure; Concise Goals = Success

With the new year upon us now, and everyone making their new year resolutions, the gyms are once again packed to the gills with people trying to lose weight and get in better shape. The sad thing is that the vast majority of people will give up on this resolution by as early as February without having accomplished anything.

Here's my opinion on resolutions…I say forget about the resolutions for good! For one, they are usually too vague and have no time-line laid out for success. For example, normally a person may make a vague, non-specific new year resolution such as "I want to lose weight" or "I want to improve my bench press" or "I will finally get in better shape".

Instead of these vague resolutions with no time line, decide on a lazer-targeted GOAL with a specific time period and write it down. Make sure it is realistic, but still will be a great accomplishment. Then write down the steps you are going to take to achieve that targeted goal. Come up with a specific plan for success.

For example, here are better examples of targeted goals that people might make:

"I will lose 12 lbs in the next 2 months"
"I will add 30 lbs to my deadlift in the next 6 weeks"
"I will increase my pullups from 6 to 12 in the next 6 weeks"
"I will lose 1-inch from my waist in the next month"
"I will learn to perform a butt-to-ground one-legged squat in the next 2 weeks"

Notice how all of these examples are very precise goals with a specific time-line for success. Also, since you have written the specific goal down and written down the plan you will take to accomplish the goal, you are much more likely to be successful. Keep the written goal and plan somewhere that you will see it on a daily basis. This is very motivating and sets most people up for success, because nobody wants to fail at a goal that they've formalized in writing. It's like a little personal challenge that you are determined not to fail.

Here are a couple examples of how I used these goal setting techniques to achieve various fitness goals for myself in recent years:

Example #1: About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to deadlift 405 lbs (4 wheels on each side of the bar). At the time, I was about 25 lbs shy of that goal, so I set a goal and a detailed plan to be able to increase from 380 to 405 in 5 weeks (as that's what I thought was a realistic time frame). I don't want to go into the full details, but basically I used a staggered progression instead of a linear progression for a 3x per week routine…and voila! I had successfully worked up to the 405 goal that I set for myself!

Example #2: This one was a semi-failure, kind of…read on. About 3 months ago, I had decided to throw handstand pushups back into my routine. I hadn't done them in a long time and could only get about 5 reps at first. I decided that 12 consecutive reps was my goal and laid out a plan to increase to a dozen by 4 weeks. By the beginning of the 4th week, my plan was working wonders and I was up to 11 reps per set. Now here's how I ended up failing to reach the goal. I tried to go for the 12 too early and ended up straining a muscle in my upper back. In hindsight, I should have listened to my body and realized that I needed another week, but I went for it too early and got hurt. So the plan was working, but I had a little snag that stopped me just 1 rep short of my goal. Oh well, I'll definitely get it next time!

Hopefully this article has given you ideas on how to make precise targeted goals as opposed to vague resolutions. Now go ahead and decide what you want and go for it! Make it realistic, but still a challenging achievement that will excite you. If your goal has anything to do with losing body fat around the midsection and developing a more defined body, a fully comprehensive plan is already laid out in the

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