And what I mean by that is, fuck letting your resolutions be something you torture yourself about in the year to come. New beginnings should be about growth and goal-setting, not holding yourself to ultimatums.
By dictionary definition, a resolution in the context of the New Year is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”; which sounds like a fine setup for some nasty self-talk when you fail at doing or not doing the thing, or not thinking something through and having way too high an expectation relative to your ability.
This year, we don’t want you to make a resolution. We want you to make a plan
The closing of a year and the beginning of a new one can be an exciting and stressful time. We’re often reflecting on our successes and perceived failures from the last 12 months, and looking ahead to what we are going to do “different” or “better” this time. What people often fail to do during this introspection, is actually objectively assess how the past 12 months went in terms of their long- and short-term goals, and what processes they are going to put into place to bring them closer to their goals moving forward.
Some of you are healthy goal-setters and go-getters who manage to thrive under the pressure of expectation you put on yourselves. If you’re one of those rare unicorns, please continue to kick ass at life and blaze the trail for the rest of us- respek. I’m no professional, and I’m a self-proclaimed failure by my own standards, and that’s why I want to invite you along with me while I learn to be a little kinder to myself in the New Year. It’s hypocritical for me to advocate for YOU to own your space, your confidence, your achievements, and learn from your failures, when I’m here beating myself up every day about everything I just flailed at.
Me being a little bitch because powerlifting is hard, man
Reflect objectively on the good and the bad
It’s important when assessing how you feel you measured up against your expectations, that you do it OBJECTIVELY.
You didn’t just fail at something because “you suck” or “you’re just not that strong”. Why did you suck? Is it because you weren’t consistent with showing up? Why weren’t you consistent with showing up? Is it because you had too much on your plate in other areas of life? Were your goals not balanced with your capacity to achieve them? Were they good goals and action plans but something unexpected happened to throw everything off track (injury, illness, work, etc)? Were they goals that were too vague to measure success?
Really dig in to take a look at WHY things didn’t work out. Be KIND to yourself while you do this, you’re not here to beat yourself up about falling short, you’re here to figure out why it might have happened, and what you need to look at to keep yourself on track in future. “I got sick and had to abandon training and got weak” isn’t being nice to yourself. “I got sick and took the time needed to recover and heal because that is what my body needed” is much kinder. Search for and take note of the positives.
If your year was wildly successful, you still need to analyze! What contributed to your success? Once again, don’t be vague; “I showed up and put in work” doesn’t necessarily give you the full picture as to why things went so well. Did you work on your schedule to make sure everything fit? Did you successfully rehab an injury and get back to training full swing? Did you have someone helping you keep accountable? Were you getting quality rest and nutrition for your body? Did you join a new gym with better facilities or that is more convenient for you to attend? You need to know what led to your success so you can recreate it, but also so that if you ever feel you are slipping, you have something to reference and see if anything has changed that might be having a negative impact.
I must have done *something* right!
Think realistically about what you want to achieve, and what success will look like
For real. “I want to win nationals!” is a fuckin great goal, but is it realistic? Do you have the experience? Have you met the qualifying standards or do you have time to before Nationals happen? Where do you stand against other competitors? Are any of your lifts close to current national records? These aren’t questions to ask so you can beat yourself up about how you compare to others, these are reasonable questions to ask to know if a goal of “winning nationals” is a realistic goal for you this year, or if it’s something you need to plan into the more distant future.
Let me be clear about anything to do with aesthetic goals: you deserve right now, whatever you think you’re going to deserve when your bone and meat sack has conformed to some arbitrary standard you are holding it to. You are capable, right now, of anything you would be capable of if you looked or weighed different to what you do now. If your aesthetic goals have anything to do with making you like yourself better, or meeting the approval of others- ditch them. You are worthy, right now. I promise you deserve it and I promise it will be WAY easier to achieve whatever you want in life if you can believe you are worthy NOW.
When brainstorming your goals, try to consider your perceived value of the goal, and whether or not the perceived value correlates with any actual benefit to yourself, and where it fits in the big picture. Remember, we want to grow, not waste energy on things that are not worth our time.
Make a plan
Often we get carried away thinking about everything we’re going to accomplish in a year, only to get to November and be like “FUCK! It’s November already?! I haven’t done SHIT this year!” It can be that you’ve been too fanciful or set too many goals for yourself. It can be that you never sat down to build a plan, you never checked in on yourself, you never specified what would indicate that a goal is “achieved.”
Yes but how?
If you’ve thought realistically and objectively about the goals you’ve brainstormed, and chosen a few that you think will be valuable and beneficial to you in terms of the big picture, it’s important to have a plan for follow-through.
Let’s try breaking down this example to give us clues about what sort of details the plan should include:
Eg, Your main goal is to achieve a wilks score of 400 points by the end of the year
- Do you plan to achieve this at your current body weight?
- If you plan to do it at a different body weight, keep in mind that’s going to be an additional thing to plan for and track, make sure it’s reasonable.
- If you plan to go for it at current bodyweight, then part of your game plan is going to be tracking throughout the year and making sure you’re staying within a reasonable range. How are you going to do that? Weekly check-ins? Monthly? What if you start swinging to a lower or higher body weight? Are you armed with the knowledge to organize your nutrition or will you need to hire someone?
- How far away from 400 are you? Time to get to a wilks calculator and start crunching numbers. What’s your current total? What total would you need to achieve a 400 Wilks? Is that a reasonable amount to expect to add to your total in a year, given your training age and past rates of progress?
- Is your coach aware of your goal? If you program yourself, do you have the experience to progress yourself to this level?
- Do you plan to achieve your 400 Wilks in competition? Which competition? How long do you have before go time?
- What will be happening during the year that will take time or resources away from working on your goal (vacation, festivals, work, work events, etc)? How will you work around these things? Remember powerlifting isn’t life and you need to stay engaged with real life along the way!
By asking yourself question after question, you can start getting really specific about your goals, which in turn makes them more real and more attainable.
So in breaking this down, we might have come up with a goal that looks like this:
“I want to achieve a 400 wilks score in competition (unequipped), at an IPF-affiliated meet. My current total is 410kg @ 83.5kg bodyweight (366.7 wilks), I would require a 447.5kg total for a 400 wilks. Although lofty, I could reasonably expect a big jump in my total over 12 months as I am now fully recovered from an injury i have been rehabbing for the past 18 months, and I am still relatively new to the sport. I will keep myself in good health by continuing my rehab and prehab practises. I aim to achieve this goal at a local meet that is consistently held at the end of November.”
Making it more specific than “I want a 400 wilks” puts it into perspective and gives you something to be accountable for. Your job is to fill in the gaps of all the steps you will need to take between now and then to reach your goal. Don’t forget to include how you are going to measure progress or a lack of, and how and when you will be checking in on yourself in regards to your progress.
Be kind to yourself
It’s cliche as heck, but honestly goals are more about the journey than the destination. You can have the best intentions, and be so well set up for success that failure doesn’t seem like an option, and STILL everything can go to shit. But that’s part of the journey. Part of goals and progress and growth is all the things we learn on the way about ourselves, even when things don’t go to plan. It’s SO important to remember this. Have the ability to re-assess priorities, have back-up plans if things aren’t on track, and don’t punish yourself or wallow in it when things get off-track, especially if you goal was lofty. You don’t slash the other 3 tires when your car gets a flat, you get that mofo fixed and keep on trucking!
At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that THIS is what success would look like for me by the end. Change of course doesn’t mean you failed!
Even if you had an absolute shitpile of a year, I hope you can find something positive to walk away with upon reflection. If you had an incredible year, take some time to pick out what things led to that success that you can bring into the new year and continue being a superpower. Here’s to health, vitality, and butt-kicking megababes taking 2017 by storm <3