Goal setting is fun. We get to think about all the cool stuff we want to do with our lives, the places we want to go, the weights we want to lift and all the rad things we want to achieve.
But if goals are so wonderful, why do so many people struggle with achieving them? Why do we spend so much time trying to create new and better ones when the old ones don’t pan out as expected?
If we have the intention to do better — to be faster and more — then why do we have such a hard time seeing these goals through? From personal experience, this is why goal setting is tough:
1. Deadlines rarely work.
Some people work well with deadlines, and others don’t. When those deadlines approach too quickly, we get discouraged and throw the whole goal out the window.
2. We don't correctly forecast how long it will take to accomplish a goal.
There's nothing worse than coming across a random setback. Illness, injury and a full weekend bender of Netflix are all potential setbacks to the habits we're trying to make routine. Those who are diving into a fresh workout plan (and are unrealistic about how much time it takes to achieve the progress they want) are especially prone to this.
3. Goals are all or nothing.
Goal setting tends to make us a little crazy and panicked. As a result, we launch ourselves into whatever it is we want to achieve with everything we have. Before long, we get burned out.
A routine (especially one so small it's impossible to say no to) builds something exceptionally more powerful than anything you can achieve with a spurt of high amounts of effort. Exercise needs to be habitual. It needs to be part of your day, and it needs to be just something you do.
4. Deadlines are almost always inflexible.
Achieving a goal is a best-case scenario. Achieving (and surpassing) your goals and expectations requires you to be 100 percent on every single time you're at the gym, and it demands that every workout is top-notch.
You need to be thinking, “I am going to need to go to the gym every day for the rest of the month in order to hit my target."
5. Goals leave you feeling lesser.
The thing I like least about goals is the moment you make one, it immediately puts you in a position of feeling “less than.” Your goal is to lose 10 pounds? Until that happens, you will always feel like something is lacking.
You want to add 100 pounds to your bench press? You’ll view yourself unfavorably or "weak” until you hit that goal.
The power of implementing routines cannot be understated. If there are limitations to goals and goal setting, how do we go about getting the things we want?
The answer is this: Adopt a routine. Be willing to embrace the boring consistency that comes from showing up to the gym every day. After all, something funny happens when we adopt a routine.
They remove the pressure that comes along with them, and they take you from a mindset where you're stressed about whether or not you're progressing fast enough to a mindset where you're focusing on taking things one day at a time.
At that point, the end goal — the reason you got back into the gym in the first place — is almost moot. The goal, the scale and the measuring tape are all things that fall to the back of your mind.
And to be honest, it's a pretty liberating feeling. When you unshackle yourself from the chains and pressures of your goal looming on the horizon and from the stress of worrying about whether or not you're making the necessary kind of progress, then you unburden yourself and focus solely on the workout of the day.
Destroying your squat PR is going to be a hell of a thing. Running a few miles farther than the week before is awesome. Benching a weight you always thought impossible is rad. Progress is always something worthy of celebration.
But being the person who shows up every day and absolutely kills it at the gym? Now that is something to be stoked about.
This article was originally published on YourWorkoutBook.com.