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  • Writer's pictureMat Harvey

8 tips for healthy goal setting

Do you work out to get high? Does that progress towards your goals?

At some stage as an athlete, exercise, gym goer, mover or however you identify yourself, you need to ask yourself this question.

Many people enjoy the ‘runner's high’ or endorphin hit that comes after a high intensity workout. Many people become addicted to this feeling. It is worth stating this now - This style of training is perfectly fine, if it aligns with your goals.

In the world of Bodyweight training we spend time developing flexibility and strength, we focus a great deal on the integrity of the musculoskeletal system. Often this focus means that you don’t always train the energy systems that will yield a hit of endorphins and deliver the runner's high that many people crave. For some people they then feel like they haven't worked out hard enough and feel compelled to ‘smash’ themselves.

If you goals are around Bodyweight movements such as muscle ups and handstands, it is very likely that you will have to devote a large amount of time and effort to developing the strength needed to do these movement. Often the training is at deliberately low intensity to ensure the correct form and movement patterns are maintained. Further this, for movements like the press handstand most people will need to develop more mobility. For people accustom to ‘smashing’ themselves and getting a good hit of endorphins, the discomfort experienced while training mobility coupled with and the lack of an endorphin hit can really take away the enthusiasm for training in this style

Did i mention that you have to train this stuff consistently for a long time to make progress?

Many people fall in love with the idea of a handstand, muscle up or flag. Most of the time the idea of the movement is very different to the reality of the process that it takes to get there. The secret is to enjoy the process, and if sometimes you don’t enjoy the process, then just do the work. It will take as long as it takes.

So now you are armed with some valuable information. This is what it takes. To get strong and flexible you are not always going to ‘smash’ yourself. You are going to work consistently through plateaus of no perceivable change. Work hard, recover hard and leave something in the tank for tomorrow. Sometimes you may not even sweat. With this information we can set some goals.

Setting goals is a healthy and necessary part of living. For instance if we want to achieve goal X therefore we first need to achieve a Y and Z to progress towards our goal. What happens when the process starts to become laborious and does not entertain us they way would like. Do we then change the goal or can we adapt the new challenges to maintain progression towards our original goals?

We often have a sense entitlement. In the field of fitness many people approach new endeavours with an assumed level of proficiency. Most of the time this is a overestimation of abilities. As you progress through the initial stages of training people often start to understand the enormity of the task at hand. At this stage many people quit. The ego is damaged. Impatience wins out. So, ask yourself, in 10 years time do i hope to be healthy and training or working out? If the answer is yes, (as i assume it will be for most readers) why are you rushing towards your larger goals. Yes a sense or urgency is important. But so is realistic expectations of progress and the amount of work that is needed to move from where you are at to where you want to be.

8 tips for healthy goal setting

  1. Research how long it will take to achieve the requirements of your goal

  2. Plan accordingly and prepare mentally for the tuff times

  3. Listen to people that have achieved what you want to achieve

  4. Be realistic

  5. Start at the start, lest you miss out on some foundational work that is important later

  6. Do behaviours that move you towards the goal

  7. It will take as long as it takes

  8. Master the process of achieving your goals

And remember:

If nothing changes, nothing changes

Hard work doesn’t work if you are running the wrong way

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