Put It Out There Challenge
Without challenges, the human body will soften. We thrive when we push our boundaries, reach goals, and blast personal records. We perform better, we look better, and we feel alive.
Get this straight: you're either progressing or regressing. There is no maintenance phase. Moderation in training can easily turn into stagnation. And moderation is for sissies. So if we want to improve, we have to seek out new challenges, struggle, and win. Dan John
There's something magical that happens when you share a goal with another human being. The goal gains momentum, a commitment is made, and you develop the focus to achieve your goal.
Last October I put a challenge out to all my group training clients, to provide me with three goals: two strength related, and one related to outdoor sport. All goals were written up and posted on a bulletin board in the gym, to be replaced with a photo and details of the goal once it was accomplished. The criteria for goal setting was as follows: the goal must be an "overreach", the goal must push you out of your comfort zone, and the goal must be attainable given your current level of strength and fitness. The goal must be measurable, with a commitment to achieving it within a specific time frame.
What was truly stunning was the momentum that developed as we approached the deadlines, many of which were geared for the end of December, 2013. We had 16 women on the board who pulled off their first bodyweight, unassisted chin up. We had over 6 women who pulled 200+ lb deadlifts. We had our first 24 kg Turkish get up performed by a female in the gym. We had well over 50% of clients get their bodyweight deadlifts, and several get their 1.5x bodyweight deadlift. I saw more gains during that 4 month training block than any previous training block. And this was just the strength goals.
The momentum crossed over to the outdoor goals as well: every one a success, with many more scheduled for 2014.
I didn’t get off easy during the challenge. I also had to choose a goal and put it on the board. My riding in 2013 was mostly for fun but without any commitment to training for an event. Like most, I do best when there’s a deadline, and a focus. I’ve been playing with the idea of a mountain bike stage race for some time, and during the challenge, received an email from my client Crystal Lambert (muddbunnies.com) who was considering the same for her outdoor goal. So here’s the public declaration of our goal: Singletrack 6. A six day mountain bike stage race through the Rocky Mountains in July 2014. We’ve got to build enough fitness over the next six months to average 1500 metres of elevation on a daily basis, with a smile on our face, and more in the tank for the next day. We’ll keep you updated on our progress. http://singletrack6.com/
Moral of the post: Writing down your goal and telling the rest of the world about it makes it happen. Training for the sake of training can quickly cause stagnation. The process of seeking out new challenges and getting stronger is highly addictive. Being surrounded by others who are as committed to the process as you are has an effect that cannot be measured. Realizing you are capable of more than you ever thought crosses over to every aspect of life.
So go head: set a goal for 2014, make it public, and watch the momentum begin.