When I started lifting (kinda) seriously, I set myself some goals. A 500lb (227.5kg) deadlift, a 400lb (181kg) squat and a 300lb (137.5kg) bench press. No magic in the number selection, but 500,400,300 seemed a pretty cool place to get to.
Over the next couple of years, I closed in on those numbers. Some experimentation, some good lifting advice and a lot of work later and the 500lb deadlift came up off the floor. A while later the 400lb squat didn’t kill me. Though a max reps attempt with 100kg might have given me a slight concussion, but that’s another story…
Just this morning I got within 2.5 kilos (5.5lbs) of my bench target. Not bad for a skinny guy with long limbs.
And you know the funny thing about those goals being achieved, and targets hit? It makes no difference at all. Not even to me. Not really.
When that first target fell, I was waiting for the confetti to fall and cheers to start. Needless to say, neither of those things happened. Achieving training goals rarely matters to anyone but the lifter, and even then only for a moment. It should always be a small moment of contentment for achieving your goal, then your eyes should be on what’s next. Gyms are filled with folks who used to do this or once did that. What matters is what you can do now.
Anyhow, I was thinking about the long road it’s been to get to thisclose to my goals, and how little celebration I had over getting to this point, when the quote below came back to me. It’s less about what you achieve, and more about what you have to become in order to achieve.
What achieving goals does for you.
Going through the process needed to get towards your goals teaches you a lot of lessons that can be leveraged to help you get to the next group of goals you set.
No one is going to do the work for you. This is especially true for health and fitness goals. Only you can commit to getting into the gym, loading up the bar and doing the work. Similarly, only you can really control what food you choose to fuel yourself with day to day.
I had no clue about how I could go from deadlifting 100kg to more than doubling it. Or taking my weak point bench press from a poor 60kg to 140 (or at least 135 as of today). But I did know I could do it, because I had seen some really strong guys in the gym, and if they could do it, then dammit, so could I!
And as my numbers grew, so did my confidence in my knowledge, effort and programming.
You can’t make great progress in anything with now and again efforts. There will be days where the thought of doing a training session is the last thing you want to do. But do it you must (said Yoda). Most of your training progress comes from the dull workouts that don’t show masses of promise, but their cumulative effect is huge.
All these things add up to provide you with a framework to achieve more, and bigger, goals. The stacking of good habits developed in achieving the first set of goals, signposts the way to the next lot of goals. All assuming that you put in the work necessary.
So, set your goals, focus on becoming the type of person, with the right collection of good habits, that can achieve them, and go smash them.