As a Personal Trainer, a Motivator, and a Coach, I Never Thought I’d Say This but FORGET YOUR GOALS!

Today I was hit with an insane realization.  When I say insane what I really mean is mind blowing! Or better yet, life changing.  Not only for me but for the people I’ve been coaching.  You see, I’ve had many jobs in my life, some that I loved, and some that I actually hated.  There was a time in my life when I would do almost anything for money.  Money had Dominion over me.  Check Out Blog Post Here.  If you haven’t checked that blog post out yet make sure you do because the message could change your whole life like it did mine.  Anyways, I had reached a point in my life where I could spend my time doing what I love.  Personal training out of choice.  It’s because I love to help people.  Specifically I really liked to help people reach their goals.  In fact, I was always taught it’s so important to set realistic goals for yourself, that way you know where you want to be.  But today I was hit with a massive realization.  This realization is so big to me because it goes against what I’ve been taught and been doing for so many years, practically all my life.  It’s basically made me want to contact everyone I’ve ever trained and tell them that all this time I’ve been wrong, and I’m sorry.  Not because I haven’t been trying to help them, but because I’ve been misled.  And by me being misled has left me in a position where I have then misled others.  It’s like the game ‘telephone’ and it all has to do with setting goals. 

You see, for years now, I have been teaching my clients to set goals for themselves, realistic ones that we could achieve.  But what I didn’t realize is that I had been misguided. In fact what I should have been teaching them is to set their goal but then forget about them. Although the path to success usually begins with setting a goal, there is a much more practical way of achieving success.  It all comes down to the difference between setting goals and setting up systems.  

Coach A vs Coach B

If you’re a coach your goal is to win a championship.  Your system is to practice daily.  If a coach ignored the goal to win a championship and only focused on the daily practice, would there still be positive results? Yes!! Actually some might argue that there’d be better results if you only focused on the system rather than the goal.  Let’s use an example.

Coach A, wants to win a championship.  So much so that everyday Coach A checks in with each and every one of the athletes and reminds them of what the goal is this year.  “To win a championship.” Instead of practice, they use their time to think about how badly they want to win a championship and how if they were to win, each of their lives would be so different.  They are instructed to manifest it by telling each of their families and anyone close to them that this year they are going to win.  They are instructed to visualize it so everyday they look at pictures of trophies and each athlete is given a glass display case to take home for a place to keep the trophy when they get it.  They picture themselves winning and what it’s going to be like when they win.  All of their focus is on the thoughts that surround winning a championship.

On the other hand,

Coach B, also wants to win a championship.  However, Coach B’s strategy is a little bit different.  Rather than focusing on what it is going to be like when they win the championship, Coach B spends time implementing systems that involve having the team practice everyday.  Each athlete is given specific instructions on tasks that they have to complete daily. Coach B makes each athlete spend 10 minutes working footwork drills; 10 minutes on hand-eye coordination drills; 10 minutes on speed and quickness drills; 10 mins on balancing exercises; 10 minutes on core strengthening exercises and 10 minutes training high intensity cardiovascular training.  Also, each athlete is given specific instructions on what they need to eat each day, how much water they need to take in and what time they need to go to bed at night.

Without ever discussing the sport in which these coaches are preparing their athletes for, who would you say has the better approach?

Pretty obvious, right?

Although Coach A is focused on the goal, the system being used to achieve success is not effective.  Coach B, on the other hand, has implemented a system that will prepare the athletes with the tools necessary to achieve the desired results.

This is actually where a lot of us set ourselves up for failure.  Rather than focusing on a system that will give us the desired result to help us achieve our goal, we focus on the goal itself.

I’ll share 3 more reasons to work on systems rather than goals

1. Goals Reduce Your Current Happiness. 

When you set a goal you put a huge burden on your shoulders to reach that goal.  Until the day that goal is actually reached you are subconsciously disappointed or dissatisfied with yourself.  Rather than loving yourself as the master of your own abilities, you blame yourself for being in the unpleasant or unwanted position that you’re in.  Instead commit to a set of processes.

2. Goals and Long Term Results Actually Are Working Against Each Other. 

Once your goal has been reached what is going to keep you motivated to continue to achieve positive results?  The only thing left to do at that point would be to change your goal.  Instead, focus on the short-term successes by sticking to them, then the long term process becomes your systems which you can be proud of every day.

3. Goals Suggest That You Can Control Things That You Can’t. 

Every time we set a goal, we try to plan where we will be and when we will make it there, even though we have no control over unforeseen circumstances or situations that will arrive.  Instead, build positive small successes that you can easily get back to if something comes up, which it will.  This will allow you to focus on different pieces that add up to getting results.  Results come from a series of positive events. It’s important not to focus on the one or two times that things didn’t go as planned.

This is not to say goals are not important.  And when I said Forget Your Goals, maybe that’s not entirely true, goals are important for planning progress, whereas systems are important for making progress.  Committing to the system is what makes the difference.