The Fascination of What’s Difficult – Goals

The Fascination of What’s Difficult

Goal Setting

Heads up. It’s almost February. We’re already a month into the New Year, and a month into those goals you set for yourself. Have you started? Have you faltered? Are you doing what you want to do?

Spoiler alert — There’s a reason you haven’t done what you wanted to yet. Whatever that is, it’s probably incredibly difficult for you. And that’s ok!  

The new year doesn’t guarantee success. It really doesn’t guarantee anything except that the sun will rise and set just like every other day of every other year. Expecting some hocus pocus New Year magic dust to suddenly get you lose weight, be a “better” person, volunteer more time, etc., is the wrong mindset. You have to approach these difficulties just like you would any other project: time sensitive, challenging, yet realistic goals with clear checkpoints.

For the record, I think New Year goals are incredibly powerful (and goals any other time of year). I also think each goal you create for yourself should be broken down into a minimum of 3 checkpoints. 

Time Sensitivity: The majority of goals are abandoned in a remarkably short amount of time. One could attribute that to a lack of clear cut time domains. Let’s make sure we make our goals time sensitive. A YEAR isn’t very time sensitive… 8 weeks however… that’ll light a fire under you.  Most of us don’t put time domains on our goals because they’re intimidating. They’re difficult.  

Challenging: Everyone needs a challenge. If you aren’t being challenged, you aren’t growing. If you aren’t growing (moving forward) and progressing, you’re moving backwards. Nobody wants to move backwards… but moving forwards can be difficult.

Realistic Checkpoints: This is where we have to look at the end of our goals, work backwards, and break them down to checkpoints. You want to lose X amount of weight in 12 weeks? Well, don’t try to lose it all in week 11… let’s break that down into 4 week increments. Now instead of one intimidating goal, you’ve got 3 very attainable checkpoints. You want to add how much weight to your back squat? Better set some checkpoints… but it can be difficult to stay on top of those check points.

The motivation from achieving these small checkpoint goals could be huge for us in the long run. How great do you think you’d feel about yourself after accomplishing that first checkpoint? Yeah buddy! Pretty damn good!  

On the flip side, let’s say you’re 6 weeks in, and haven’t even tried to lose weight. “Well, there’s no way I can do this in 6 weeks now. Let’s just wait until those 6 are up and start again.”

And then you wait to start…

And you don’t set checkpoints…

And then you get discouraged again…

And then you wait to start…

And you don’t set checkpoints…

And you get discouraged again…

This is pretty difficult.  

Repeat this often, and then the new year rolls around again. What happened? Where’s that magic new year dust when you need it?

“Life is like walking the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. Walk, and you stay put. Stand still, and you go backwards. To get ahead, you have to hustle.” – Farrelly Brothers.

This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad, nor is it meant to shame your past goal setting. It’s a simple observation of the thousands of everyday people I’ve worked with, as well as my own experience. It’s meant to bring you a sense of empathy that we, the coaches, know and understand what you are trying to do, and what you are going through. Setting challenging time sensitive goals with clear checkpoints is incredibly difficult. I think that’s why so many people are fascinated by the new year.

Set your goals. Communicate them to us. Let us help you. It’s what we’re good at!

-Clark Hibbs

If you have some spare time, or are curious as to the inspiration behind this post, check out “The Fascination of What’s Difficult” by the Irish poet W.B. Yeats.


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