Aiming for average or just above is one of the most uninspiring and least productive things that you can do in all areas of your life. Whether it’s for health, fitness, lifestyle, mindset or relationships, aim for the top 98% for better results.
Whenever I’m working with a client, I get them to talk about themselves at great length to try to understand what their motives are and how to connect the work required to become mentally engaged for compliance. No matter what the level of client’s fitness or health, I attack it with the same principles and conviction – there can be no difference between a top-level athlete and a complete beginner. They are both people with needs, wants and emotions that require the same level of care, planning and attention. Methods might change, but overall the relative effort and work is the same. The only difference I have found working with the beginners and athletes are how they approach their goals differently.
“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” – John Wooden
Top level athletes always set an overall goal that might seem unrealistic by their current standards. They can also explain WHY they want to achieve the goal and have action steps on how they will get there. This is the pivotal point and main difference between the two groups when it comes to approaching training goals. In general, the beginner often sets mediocre goals that don’t inspire or are not going to require a higher level of thinking and training. I absolutely loathe the use of the term “realistic goals.” It has no gusto and no ability to excite new possibilities. Setting your overall goal for something that is “realistic” might get you to achieve short-term success, but it won’t create above average results and it certainly won’t pursue excellence. To put this into context, I’m not away with the fairies and wanting people to put down goals like maintaining 0% body fat with a diet of donuts and fried cheese. There are laws of physics and physiology that can’t be ignored, but don’t let this deter you from setting targets for things that haven’t been achieved before.
In 1954 a man named Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile barrier. So called “experts”, for many years prior, said that it was impossible for the human body to break this record, as it was not physically possible. Now if Roger had set a “realistic goal” of running one mile at a pace that many other runners before him had run, there is a strong chance he wouldn’t have been the first man to break such record. Roger not only set the goal of being the first man to achieve this, but he relentlessly visualised the feat countless times in his head, creating a sense of certainty that he was going to break the record. Only 2 months after Roger, the record had been broken again, and was continually broken in subsequent years.
If you can model yourself on someone who you aspire to be like and perceive is successful, this is one of the quickest shortcuts to get from where you are to where you want to be.
“Success leaves clues.” – Anthony Robbins
Learning from other people is always a fast track way to success and can ensure you don’t make the same mistakes that they might have made. That’s when a coach or mentor is always good idea. Just because you haven’t achieved something in your life before, don’t let excuses or complaining get in the way of setting targets that are going to stretch your capabilities further than ever before. To achieve new heights you will have to be prepared to do things that you haven’t done before.
Whenever a client says to me that they can’t do something, I inevitably say, “not with an attitude like that you won’t!” I don’t say this to be a prick! I’m simply making them aware of the “fixed mindset” or limiting belief they have that can be improved upon. Attaching belief to goals is just as important as setting the goal itself.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You’re right.” – Henry Ford
5 key action steps for setting more congruent fitness (or any other goal type) goals:
- Set an overall long-term goal that excites and motivates you to work towards.
- Make sure the goal is detailed, specific and able to be measured.
- Have a strong reason WHY achieving the goal is important for you. Write down all the reasons why it’s important to you and stick it next you your goals list (must be personal and connect).
- Have a detailed plan for how you’re going to achieve the goals
- Handwrite your goals and reasons why you want to achieve them. Then stick them in a prominent place that you will see a couple of times per day e.g. bathroom mirror. (I laminated some of my own personal goals that I wrote down on cue cards and put them in my pocket every day at work!)
Make a decision, own it, live it and act it!