Goals- when they aren't so cut and dry

Posted by Raeanne Pemberton on

By: Cheri

Sometimes it can be challenging to set goals. In powerlifting, I have learned to set them regularly; short term/cycle goals and long term/"dream" goals alike. But, what if I'm doing it wrong?

At first, it was easy to set goals. They were met with relative ease, by simply being consistent in my training, my lifts went up. It was encouraging and measurable. But I've been powerlifting for about 3 years now and the number on the bar does not go up so easily. I'm constantly trying to tweak things I think *might* be the issue. When that doesn't help, I try something else. Sometimes to my dismay, my numbers go down. So, let's think about this for a moment, what if:

•you're consistent with your training
•intuitive in regards to your body and it's response to different stimulus
•careful to track your nutruition
•Stress and sleep are monitored
•you care about your programming, what exercises you're given and have a desire to understand the why's of it all

So, where is the disconnect?

Well, maybe... Time. Pateince.

Two things we are pretty lousy at. In a world of instant gratification, it's hard to wait for something. Especially something you want really bad. We KNOW that once the newbie gains are gone, the number on the bar slows down. A lot. But what does that mean? What does it look like? I think we get discouraged because it's not a formula we can graph or something we can track. Some people plateau for short periods of time and some for long periods of time, and all for such varying reasons. If you have a love for this sport, you will be willing to not only work hard, but also seek help in growing, and be patient with the process. Be just as excited for a 5# increase as you used to be for a 25# increase.

Another thing we all battle is the issue of camparison. I don't want to delve too much into this, but beware of this monster! When setting goals, set them because you can and want to set them, not because you see others doing the same thing. Don't hate on yourself because you can't do what "everyone else" can do, but strive for progress within your spectrum, your abilities and your experience.

When setting goals, be realistic. If you're  struggling and feel like the best you can do is maintain, the set a goal to maintain. I don't feel that setting a lofty goal is helpful unless it is also achievable.

Be patient with your own personal learning curve. I know I've struggled with not being able to see a goal realized that maybe I could have a year ago. There are so many factors that must be considered as you gain strength and experience. Search out help and advice from lifters who are way beyond you. They can shed light on your current situation because it's quite likely, they've been there before.

Learn to address whatever issues effect your lifting. For me, I struggle with a moderate level of anxiety that is manageable, but can become a huge hindrance and ruin an entire training session. I know I cannot fix this overnight, but I am willing to do whatever I need to, however long I need to in order to have victory over it.

So, setting goals is good. They encourage us, motivate us, make us work harder and become stronger. Learning to grow and set goals accordingly is not as easy as I thought, but I want to be stronger more than I want to give up.

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