posted on July 9, 2018
We have just hit the halfway point of 2018, so it’s time to think about where we stand on our yearly goals. I’m writing this from the beach, so all of those New Years Resolutions about body composition improvement are pretty salient for me right now. Did you reach your goals? Statistically speaking, that’s unlikely. Only the very best 8% of us keep our resolutions, leaving the other 92% of us in the dust. Why is that? And how can we improve our chances going forward? Over the next two weeks, I’ll be exploring that concept.
This week, I’ll be featuring a few of our staff members. I asked Casey, Ryan, and Alexa to tell me all about their 2018 goals, where they stand on them, and how they’re adjusting as we progress through the year. Two of them sent me back novels; one sent back a paragraph (to his credit, that’s exactly what I asked for!). I’ll include my own experiences as well. In the next installment, I’ll look at what each of us did right (and wrong) and how you can learn from our experiences.
Since this is my article and I do what I want, we’ll start with my 2018:
I went into 2018 with what I now realize were some lofty goals. I’m going to stick to my work and training goals for the sake of brevity.
Professionally, I had planned to expand the women’s #powerful program to at least two classes per week, with an additional seminar thrown in once per quarter to tackle some of the issue our members face outside the gym: sleep, nutrition, stress management. This one hasn’t come to fruition yet (I’ve been spending a lot more time on our Cardio Lab classes than I’d planned and I’m not mad about it), but I am on track to get there by the end of the year with some help from the rest of our staff! I had also planned on making sure our front desk is staffed during all of our busiest periods, and while it hasn’t been perfect, this one is mostly in the bag! With the addition of Alexa, Kate, and our interns this year, plus a stricter front desk schedule for our full time staff, I feel pretty good about having a friendly face at the door most of the time.
And onto the big professional fail: I had planned on going to Austin to get the Onnit Academy Foundations certification way back in April. This cert is awesome: it integrates a ton of different movement types and implements and would be super useful for us at UF. I didn’t end up going. I could list a millions reasons (read: excuses) for why I didn’t make this happen, but I’ll spare you. I just didn’t prioritize it. I’ve had to put this one on the back burner for now.
Onto my training goals. Oh man. I always overshoot here. I want a 900lb total (squat/bench/deadlift) and a 400lb. deadlift. It’s within my reach, but NOT in the time period I gave myself. And not without some dedicated and smart training cycles. I am proud of the progress I’ve made since 2017, I’m getting consistently stronger in a way that reflects how I’m managing the rest of my life stress and recovery (read: could be a lot better). Going for the solid 850+lb total at my next meet instead. 900 will be a reach absolute end of year goal or early 2019 goal.
I’ll expand on these and go into how I’m adjusting my sights for the back half of 2018 in next week’s post.
That’s enough about me. Now here’s Alexa:
When Lindsey mentioned that we were going to do a staff blog on our goals, I went home and searched all of the places I had physically written down my goals for this year. First step to setting a goal is to physically write it. See it.
I am more of a month by month goal setter rather than a year. Each month I typically write down 1-3 goals I want to accomplish.
I will start off with one of my most frequent goals, to read one book each month. This does not always happen. In my “perfect world” it would. But really, sometimes life gets busy and it takes longer than a month. Typically, the way I set that up is I take the number of pages in the book and divide it by the number of days for that month. i.e. a book that is 315 pages divided 30 days in June would be about 10-11 pages per day. 10-11 pages is very realistic and if one day is busier and I only get to 5 pages then I will make sure to read an extra 5 the next day. I think showing realistic figures like that makes reaching goals less stressful and easily attainable. Breaking things down and having a plan will set any goal up for success.
My other goal was to reach a 300 lb deadlift by February…Well it is July and I am 70 lbs away from that. That was not a realistic goal of mine. This is a goal that will take time. Loads of patience and maybe a goal that can be set to reach for the year 2018 or even 2019. To reach this goal, I have to structure a training plan that will challenge me every week but not burn myself out. I have to structure my rest days so that when I have my deadlift days I am well rested, fed, mobile, and ready to move weight. I WILL GET THERE.
My last goal is basically a goal for a lifetime but it’s something I want to set baby goals for along the way. That is to be present. A pretty hot topic for 2018. Most of us are overloaded with technology, fast pace, wishing the weeks away, etc. I am 1000% guilty of this. As soon as I pull in my driveway, I go into the garage, shut the door, rush upstairs and get ready for bed just to begin the cycle again. I do not want to just “go through” the motions of life. What is the purpose of life if we are rushing through it? Through to what? We are always looking forward to what is in the future. The next day, the weekend, that vacation. Once that special event has arrived we are busy worrying about what we have to do tomorrow OR maybe that day that you have been building up in your head is not meeting the expectation you created and you are let down… I don’t like this. This cycle is daunting and vicious.
So, my goal starting now and every day is to be aware of the current moment. Be mindful. Take in every feeling, every touch, every laugh, every hug, every cry, every single moment. Recognize it and feel. Something that I have been practicing for the past 3 months is yin and restorative yoga. It puts me in a space that is otherwise difficult to reach alone. I make it a goal of mine to go at least once per week. When I leave, I feel. This is not something that is going to ever come easy. It is something that you must train your mind and body to do. But, I am willing to put in what it takes just so I can feel and recognize what is in front of me at every moment.
And Ryan, my paragraph hero:
For me I had a fair share of goals for 2018. Moving to Pittsburgh was just the first step to start checking things off my bucket list. The first goal was to sign up for a powerlifting meet and hit a 450 squat, 300 bench, and a 485 deadlift. Next goal was to finish two books that have taunting me for months. Another major goal was to make sure to sleep 8 hours a night while keeping up with food prep. All of this while waking up early to go for a stroll outside around the park while sipping some coffee. With some unfortunate events and laziness kicking in after work, only one was accomplished (and that was only due to the fact I have to walk to work). But it’s time to readjust. Your number one goal should be to never toss your goals away if they weren’t completed. Just adjust your goals in order to get them done in some way. So for my first goal now is to just sign up for a powerlifting meet. Maybe I’ll hit those numbers but at least I’ll be participating in a meet and that’s the bulk of that goal. Instead of finishing the books I had in mind I bought two smaller books which I was able to read quickly. Even though these weren’t the same book’s that I wanted to finish at least I got the momentum. This momentum has transferred to reading another book and eventually the books I had originally planned. As for the sleep I have been focusing on taking naps, food prepping right when I get home and instead of making it a morning walk it has turned into an afternoon walk.
And we’ll end with Casey, the novelist:
Compete in May and August 2018
Get ‘healthy’ again regarding UC
Open a float tank in April 2018
I haven’t competed in a large national/international competition since RUM8 in February 2015. A string of injuries, followed by a local meet, followed by a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis has kept me off the platform. As I was gaining my weight back along with my health, I set my sights on the US Open in San Diego, May 2018. This meet has a $40,000 cash payout for first place, and with a lot of work and a little luck I would have been able to take a shot at it, at least in my head. I trained hard and smart leading up to it. But in February, the universe had other plans. My first dog, Lily, was diagnosed with bone cancer. She was given 3-4 months to live, which would have taken me right up to the San Diego trip. I cried and then I reassessed- my training probably wasn’t going well enough that I could legitimately take a shot at placing in the Open. And could I really get on a plane potentially knowing that I may be coming home to a dog that had passed away. I looked in my heart and knew the answer was no. It hurts to admit failure or in this case just to walk away from a goal. But being objective is hugely important to goal setting and goal achieving.
I moved forward with training- I changed all of my timetables and prepared for August. As I write this, in June, I can say it was the right decision. Lily outlived her diagnosis- we put her down peacefully on June 22nd. My strength may very well be better than it’s ever been. Hindsight is (usually) 20/20, but I’ve accepted that I’m not Superman. Lily’s passing reminded me of that. I’m about eight weeks out from Boss of Bosses, an international meet in California, and I’m excited because of my level of preparation.
The bigger piece of this story- my overall health- is the more important piece. I finally committed to changing my diet to help reduce inflammation in my GI tract. I was putting it off for two reasons- I like ice cream and I was worried that without some ‘shitty’ foods in my diet I would drastically lose weight. Maybe a third reason…I was scared I would fail. I’ve never had to diet before. Could I commit to it? Could I follow through?
I had two food allergy tests done (I was interested in the cross over to make sure I had all bases covered). Three months later, I decided it was time to get to work. My GI tract was not cooperating. My health was starting to reverse course. To put it plainly, I just didn’t feel well and I could either put the blame somewhere or take accountability. My grandfather told me this story a handful of times- he used to be smoker, until one day he woke up and quit. I typically rolled my eyes at him, really unsure whether or not to believe him. It was a Saturday following a squat session- I made up my mind that it was time for a change. I referenced my food allergy tests and came up with a plan. I would eat roast beef and hash browns for breakfast and dinner. Then filet and roasted potatoes for lunch (2 meals). And add in carrots, guacamole, cranberry juice, and lately dried mangos have been my go to. I eat this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I will do so until my inflammation is nearly non existent, at which point I’ll introduce some of the foods that I have a minor reaction to- example: rice. Fingers crossed- I think it’s working. This is the first week in a long time that I’m feeling some semblance of ‘normal’.
So really, I haven’t achieved any of my 2018 personal goals. In fact I failed at one. Why? Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. I prioritized my relationship with my dog over my passion for competing in powerlifting. I was on course for prioritizing my enjoyment of food over my health, but I committed to changing that relationship with food, and I have. I haven’t won yet, and I haven’t accomplished my goal, but I’ve laid that foundation. And when it’s time to start building the first floor, and then the second and third, I’ll take pleasure in that process too. Remember, a pyramid is only as tall as it’s base is wide.
Professionally I planned on opening a “Float tank,” or sensory deprivation tank in April 2018. I failed at hitting that date, but only because my partner and I had different time tables. I became frustrated a handful of times as we changed timelines, changed locations, tank distributors, etc. But I wasn’t willing to take on all of the risk by myself, so who was really to blame? I think that’s the biggest takeaway for me from this exercise in reflection- I chose these paths. I chose to not compete in May. I chose to delay dieting to improve my health. I chose to take on a partner to reduce my risk. And all these things are OK! Now if I sat here uneasy and making excuses for why things aren’t the way I want them to be in my life, then Houston, we have a problem.
That’s enough for one post! Check back next Monday for Part Two: Readjusting our 2018 Goals.