Realism and rational goal setting hasn’t always been my strong suit when it comes to the gym. I am what you would call a star-shooter. I put my goals and dreams in a place that makes most people chuckle. It’s simply the way my brain functions. What that typically results in is a focus on numbers. I have ideal totals that I want to hit at the end of my career and every 4 years leading to that. However, after spending the last several years in the gym, I have learned that “Star Goals” only satisfy the long term effort. By not emphasizing a goal for each individual training cycle I was limiting myself. I would find myself 5 weeks into a training cycle and losing steam in my training. These are the times when goals based around movement, or what I call tangible goals, become paramount.
Most people when asked for a goal for a training cycle will quickly tell you of a number that they want to hit. I am probably guiltier of this than anyone at the gym. Many times over the past two years I put my Star Goals in front of my Tangible Goals. In fact, for the better part of two years I would excuse my terrible form if I hit a number that I deemed acceptable. Obviously, that was not a sustainable system if I ever wanted to hit my Star Goals. Instead of getting to the point where I would be forced to take time off for an injury, I refocused on what gets an athlete to their ultimate goals: safe movement at maximal load. I have taught myself to now focus in on one tangible goal every few weeks or even for an entire cycle. Sometimes that is looking at my back angle on a lift, and other times it is simply looking at how I perform a 5 rep squat compared to the last time I attempted it. Was I moving well? Did my core cave? That sort of thing.
What I would urge all of my athletes, and anyone that I encounter, is to set up Tangible Goals that will lead to those Star Goals. Everyone has that lift with a specific number that they are dreaming of hitting. Whether the timeline is over the course of a year or the course of a training career, set yourself up for success! If you are continuing to have the same flaw or even nagging pain every time you take a lift above 90 percent, it may be time to step back and make a form based goal. Work with lighter weights and build your way back up until you have achieved that Tangible Goal. Once you do that you will be one step closer to your Star Goal. Then, my friends, you will be a Starboy (or girl).