Geoffrey F. Albert said “The most important thing about a goal is having one.”
I like that quote because it reminds me of how great it feels to have a sense of purpose in my daily life. When goals are set, especially in competitive bodybuilding, our sense of purpose is magnified immensely and therefore we live happier, more fulfilling lives!
Setting goals is the context of the 1st principle of competitive bodybuilding.
1: What is Your BodyBuilding Goal?
A bodybuilding goal can be very big or very small. According to Wikipedia, A goal is a desired result or possible outcome that a person or system envisions, plans and commits to achieve. In other words, it’s something that you plan to do. You are choosing to live deliberately. You’re making a conscious choice to create the life you love and no longer be a drifter in life. Setting a bodybuilding goal can be as simple as planning to go to the supermarket or going for a 15 minute walk.
Having a goal is much more than just something you want to do. There are other factors to consider in order to be successful with your goal. Knowing things like what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it and why you want to achieve it in the first place are very important things to consider.
If competitive bodybuilding is something that you would like to do, you really have to think about why you want to go into that sport and which aspect of bodybuilding you want to be a part of. Just saying that you want to be a bodybuilder is too broad. You should consider this question: Do you want to be a posing coach, a competitor, a personal trainer, a nutritionist? There are so many areas of bodybuilding that if your goals are not very detailed or specific it will be nearly impossible to achieve anything at all because there is no focus.
Why setting a goal is important?
Let’s say you want to be a bodybuilder but you haven’t identified the type of bodybuilder you want to be. There are more than four different federations in bodybuilding with multiply categories and different body tone levels within each. Therefore, you have to decide your Federation first then choose the category you would like to compete in. That will be discussed in greater details in the upcoming article. Looking at those categories, how would you determine which exercises to do to achieve the look you want? How would know which category to enter and the type of body to achieve for that category? What would be your reason for choosing that category? What if you trained for that category and then you realize that you didn’t really like it after all?
You can have a lot of talent and potential but if you don’t focus, it is going to be really hard to achieve your goals. I am an overachiever and often struggle with focus. I have a lot of areas that I wanted to be involved in for bodybuilding and I felt overwhelmed, because I was trying to do some much. I had to decide how to focus on fewer things as I was stretched too thin. Focusing and working on fewer things also helps you to have a target in mind as well as a purpose. You have a sense of direction and target by setting a goal.
By setting goals, you are also able to measure your progress as you always have a set endpoint. Let’s say for example, you want to lose weight. If you have a set goal by stating how much weight you would like to lose, that would be more measurable than saying you just want to lose weight. Saying you would like to lose 20 pounds, you can always calculate how much you have lost and how much is left to lose.
Setting goals helps us avoid distractions as well. Imagine you have a bodybuilding competition to enter and it has a set date. The closer you get to that date, the more focused you have to become. If your friends are going to party the night before and you have the competition at 9am in the morning, you are not going to go out because you know you have to get up early. If there is an event the same time, you are not going to go as you have already set your goal to enter the competition. That is what I mean by being focused. There were days when my friends wanted to go out and I knew that they are planning to drink alcohol. I avoided it because I was trying to stay away from alcohol. When my friends wanted to go to the beach, I had to really plan for it as I knew it would be difficult. I brought my lunch kit with my meals and supplements so that if I got hungry, I would simply pull something from my lunch kit rather than eating something that I wasn’t sure how it was prepared. I knew if I ate something different from my diet it would take me further away from my goal so I had to make sacrifices.
How do you choose a goal?
You can be a bodybuilder without competing. However, if you haven’t already noticed, in this article I will be focusing on how to be a competitive bodybuilder…. See what I did there? Focus. It’s good to have focus.
Yes, it’s easier said than done but how do you really choose or set a goal? You might have heard the term “Set S.M.A.R.T goals” before. Do you fully understand what setting S.M.A.R.T goals mean? It is advised that goals have to be designed S.M.A.R.T to be powerful. There are numerous variations of what S.M.A.R.T means. S.M.A.R.T is abbreviated for being:
S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.
Specific – Your goal has to be specific as it give you focus and direction. You’ll know where you want to go, how close or far away you are from the goal.
Measurable – Being able to measure your progress or success is always a good thing as it motivates you to continue or make adjustments if the method you are using to reach the goal is not working. Include dates, amount and time if necessary when creating goals. If you want to lose weight, you have to put how much you would like to lose and by what date so you can measure your success. You will also get the opportunity to celebrate as it gets closer to your set date.
Attainable – Set goals that are realistic. You could say, I want to lose 20 pounds in three months. That’s a pretty realistic and measurable goal. You don’t want to choose a goal that you know it’s almost impossible to achieve. Saying you want to lose 20 pounds in one week will be very difficult to achieve in a healthy way. What happens when the one week ends and you realize that you have not achieved your goal? You will be emotionally destroyed, especially if you told people about your goal. We’ll get to the telling people part in this article shortly. You also don’t want to set goals that are too easy to achieve.You want to have the thrill of anxiety and excitement to celebrate when you have achieved something that was challenging and you overcame it.
Relevant – This aspect of the S.M.A.R.T goal abbreviation I think is really important. Setting a goal that is relevant to what you want to do in life is what gives you purpose. It helps you to determine your why and your values. Your goals have to be consistent with your values. Let’s say you want to be a bodybuilder and be really ripped. There are a lot of things you could do to achieve that including taking steroids. If your values are not aligned with taking drugs to achieve your goal and you want to go the natural way, that wouldn’t be the best way to achieve it.
Time Bound – Deadline. Your goal must have a deadline. There is a quote I normally hear, I’m not sure who said it. “A goal without a deadline is a dream.” If you want your dreams to come true you have to set a deadline for them so they are no longer just dreams. When you add a deadline to your goal, you have a sense of urgency as you get closer to the deadline. If you want to enter a competition, you are going to do all the things you have to do in order to be victorious in the competition especially as you get closer to the competition date.
Write Down Your Goal
This is my favorite part as I love writing things down. There is something that happens to your brain when you put things in writing. It just makes things seem more real and achievable. I also like to cross things off my list as I complete them. Writing it down and having it where it’s very visible, is like a reminder. There is no way you can forget as you are always seeing it. If bodybuilding is something you really want to do, immerse yourself in bodybuilding. Write your goals on the fridge, walls, doors, computer and mirrors (because I use the mirror quite regularly). Having a vision board of your goals really helps as well. Maybe you can have a picture of a bodybuilder you admire or someone who has the type of health and body you like best.
This is very interesting as this could turn out good or bad depending on who you share your goals with. This is a real controversy as there is a theory that you not should tell anyone your goals or what you are doing. This is with good reason as people can demotivate you by telling you what you are trying to achieve is not possible. Some of the things I have heard while I was on my journey are, “ You are too shy to enter a competition like that.”, “It is not for you.”, “You are trying to achieve something impossible.”, “You will never look like her.” I ignore them and continued my journey. When they started seeing results, the comments changed to “You look sick.”, “I preferred when you had more weight”. There will always be nay-sayers out there in the world. Avoid sharing your goals with those people.
On the bright side, it can be a beautiful thing to share your goals with like-minded people who are positive because you will meet people who are going through the same thing you are going through. You are able to work on your goals together and motivate each other. Also, it holds you accountable. The more positive people you tell about your goal the more it feels like an obligation to achieve it. They can support you as you go on your journey. Some of my friends would say, don’t give her anything unhealthy she is trying to lose weight. Sometimes your chances of achieving it gets even higher when you tell the right people.
Break your goal down into smaller pieces. Having a really big goal can feel overwhelming sometimes. Make small end points and deadlines that contributes to the main goals. Having milestones helps you to review your progress and see what you need to adjust or change in order to go in the direction you want. Choose your milestones wisely as long-term goals can promote procrastination many times because there is no sense of urgency. Sometimes the shorter the deadline the better it is and the more likely you are to achieve it. Break down your goal into short-term milestones so you can complete a small piece of a larger goal that you can work on every week or even everyday.
Sometimes people say they want to achieve something but have absolutely no plan or idea how they are going to achieve it. You are so focus on the result that you forget to plan the steps that will help you to achieve that goal. As a bodybuilder I had to plan how I was going to be a fitness competitor and the things I would have to do to achieve that goal.
It’s better to have a bad plan that no plan. – Garry Kasparov
By having a plan with steps and crossing each one off as you complete them, helps you to see your progress as you take action.
Plan to celebrate. Setting a deadline for your goal helps you to look forward to the date and prepare to celebrate. The fact that you are looking forward to the date, gets you excited and make you want to get out of bed everyday. It motivates you to work your goal consistently, especially when you are seeing progress.
When you have achieved a goal, celebrate and reward yourself for the hard work you have done. Write down your success and put it where you can see it everyday so when you get discouraged and feel down you will be reminded that you are a superstar. Also be prepared to accept all the compliments you get for your hard work.
If you enjoyed this 1st article in this series please share your comment below and post it on your favorite social media platform such as facebook.
In the second principle of competitive bodybuilding I’ll teach you about the 6 steps you must know to properly prepare for competitive bodybuilding. Read the article by clicking here.