Monday, April 21, 2014

Training Mentality - Part 1 - The difference between goals, and ideas

Every seminar I've ever done I've stood in front of a room of people and asked all of them what their goals were.

And every single time I've heard virtually the same answers.

"To get stronger."

This is pretty much what I expect people to say.  I mean, I don't think anyone attends my seminars or reads my writing to improve their ability to double dutch or become awesome at paint by numbers.

The problem is, getting stronger is not really a goal.

It's an idea.

Goals are specific.  They entail planning and are exact in nature.

"I want to squat 500 6 months from now."

That's a goal.

Now that a goal is realized, plans can be made.  All the details can be ironed out as how to make that happen.

Ideas are the wellspring from which goals come from.  The originating point.  After all, someone has to have an epiphany or moment of clarity to start the entire process of figuring out what it is they want.  But if the idea doesn't transcend into something more specific then we end up becoming a vessel that is simple floating aimlessly in the water.

People generally wander through life with all sorts of ideas.  And because those ideas never manifest themselves into anything more than casual thoughts or mental glances, nothing ever becomes of them.  Or at least, their idea is never fully realized.

People perform this same ritual with careers, relationships, and all sorts of endeavors and undertakings.

"I want a job."
"I want a relationship."
"I want a house."
"I want a car."
"I want a dog."
"I want to be thinner."
"I want to be muscular."
"I want to be strong."

These things are not goals.  They are just casual ideas about the things you'd like to have in your life.  They are only as meaningful as the follow through that envelopes them after the thought.  They can only become something more than an idea if the person with the idea applies something tangible to them.

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds."

But by when?

"I want to be stronger- I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months."

How will this get accomplished?

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months - I will train 4 days a week in order to accomplish this."

Now said person has to actually get their ass in the gym and implement this plan.  Otherwise, all of this planning in regards to the goal, just becomes an idea again.  Without the tangible part, i.e. "the work", then it's just a thought.

Ideas are what we cling to when we're not ready to let something evolve into something greater.  That's why you meet those people who say shit like "I'd love to be in shape...." and the rest of their words are mumbled and usually you pick up something to the effect of "too busy..." or "I love doughnuts...".

I do love a good doughnut, though.

Mmmmmmm, doughnuts......

Where was I?

Oh yeah, ideas and goals.

Your training brain will always be tossing around various ideas.  It's imperative that you explore those ideas and ruminate on them to decipher what is truly meaningful to you, and toss the rest.  And when you do that, you can easily narrow down all the factors that have to happen in order to make that idea a possibility.

And that is how we arrive at goals.  That is how we end up seeing not only the big picture, but all of the minute details that must be adhered to in order for the big picture to arrive.

However making the big picture arrive cannot happen without "the work".  Without that, you just become the aimless vessel again.

If you want something to be "motivated" about, then tap into your ideas, and then let them develop into the things you NEED.

Which leads us to part 2..............which right now, is just an idea.  But I will write it later!  :)


  1. Haha, loved that ending! Do you ask after the "Get Stronger"? Perhaps, they're just generalizing their goal and avoid being a pedant. Everyone should have SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound).

    This post reminded me I haven't set any in awhile, I'm just reassessing and reviewing to see I get stronger. Thanks! I'll think on this.

  2. Thanks for the post. I think we all lose sight of tangible goals in different aspects of our lift, and it's important to know the distinct difference.

    Also, if someone needs to be motivated, they need to look no further than watching The Original (my nickname for you) work towards HIS goals.

  3. Excellent post Paul. I'm really glad to see you writing more about the mentality of training. That's my favorite topic on this blog.