Working on your body, health or fitness starts with setting a goal. After all, without a goal you also have nothing to work towards and you are simply engaged in leisure activities. But although a goal should be the basis of your progression, goals are often misused ...
How hard can it be would you think? You consider what you want to achieve and then we go for it, right? Unfortunately it is not that simple. Not only that, setting the wrong goals can even ensure that you never reach the goal and perhaps only get further away from the goal you had in mind.
Today we explain what the difference is between certain goals and especially: how you can set the right goal with which you will achieve what you want instead of just getting in your way!
Result goals, or prepare for failure
Goals can be divided into roughly three categories: result and performance goals on the one hand, growth goals on the other. Result-oriented goals naturally sound by far the most interesting and that is precisely what most people emphasize.
With result-oriented goals it is often about proving yourself to the outside world, you want to be the best, you want to win. Your ego is often the driving force behind such goals.
Sounds very motivating, but there is a downside to it ... Such goals are black and white, very black and white. You win and are happy, or you lose and are disappointed, there is no middle ground.
This can be a very good mentality if you are extremely driven to perform at competition level and have the necessary talent for this, but for the majority, such goals will only disappoint you.
One step less: Performance targets
In addition to result goals, we also have performance goals. A bit better though, but not quite what we are looking for. With performance goals you compete with yourself. You want to improve yourself. 10 kilos on top of your bench press, a fat percentage below 10%, 5 kilometers of running in 30 minutes, things like that.
The fact that performance goals are focused on yourself is already a positive sign. They are no longer driven by the fact that you want to be the best, but go for personal success. This is something that we absolutely consider to be an important part of a charity, but it should not be your only motive.
Consider the following ...
Imagine you currently weigh 100 kilos. As a perfect goal you have a body weight of 80 kilos in your head and that has become your goal. But what if you manage to lose 18 kilos and then run into a wall?
Your body struggles, you have to sit unhealthily low in your diet, your mood and energy suffer enormously and with every meal outside your diet you see the scale quickly crawling back to the 83 kg or beyond. You feel that your goal has failed at that moment. You now weigh 82 kilos, not 80. You have failed.
Every outsider will find that you have achieved a great performance. After all, you have lost 18 kilos. But that does not feel like that to you, because you have not achieved your goal ...
Add to that what happens if your progress is not as fast as you had hoped. It has been proven that the greater your goal, the more unrealistic your expectations become. Do you expect to lose 10 kilos of body weight in 20 weeks? Then we have bad news for you ...
Result & performance goals and luck are two extremes
Result and performance goals are therefore not the best choice for most people to achieve your goal, but there is more. Your sense of happiness can suffer enormously under the pressure of a result-oriented goal.
To cite the example above: perhaps you can keep a body weight of 85 kilos without too much trouble. You pay attention to your diet, exercise a number of times a week and make sure that you do sleep en stress have control. At the same time, you can quietly have a drink with friends on the weekend, go out for dinner and even grab a pastry during the week when a colleague has a birthday.
But what happens as soon as your performance goal of 80 kilos gets the upper hand is the exact opposite. Everything must give way to your goal, because that will get you at all costs. Social occasions must give way to your training sessions and a dinner with your family must make way for your prepared meals.
That is a good time to ask yourself what you really want to achieve. Is a tough six-pack going to make you happy if that means that you have to do everything for it? Chances are not ...
Growth goals - The road to success
Result and performance goals are focused on the end result, growth goals focus on the process. That may sound a bit vague or even boring, but we will try to explain it as well as possible.
Results-oriented goals have a major pitfall. Namely that a setback is experienced as failure. Is the weight loss not going fast enough for you or are you not achieving that random number in your head? Then you have failed.
The big difference with growth goals is that a setback is not experienced as a setback, but as a learning moment. Has your weight loss not gone as fast as expected in recent weeks? Great, that means that we have to change something to grow further.
Growth can mean anything. It may mean that you will pay more attention to your diet, it may mean that you will get more out of your training, it may mean that you lose something step by step. Every time you apply such an improvement and lose some weight, that means progress: you have made another step in the right direction.
Learn to appreciate your commitment
You see, by not staring yourself blindly at the endpoint, you will appreciate much more what changes you will succeed in and you will learn bit by bit what else needs to be done to change your lifestyle with the desired end result.
A cheat meal is not a moment of failure, but a learning moment how you can better tackle or prevent this. A missed training is not a failure, but a lesson that you should better manage your time or perhaps take more time to achieve your goals.
A growth goal is not black and white like a result goal, a growth goal is about developing yourself physically, but also mentally. As soon as you drop those unrealistically high deadlines and start focusing on improving yourself, every day, you will discover that you can achieve much more than you may have thought beforehand.
But one thing is still missing ...
Even so, growth goals are not perfect. They are a lot better than pure result or performance goals, but with just a growth goal there is a risk that you will take such small steps every week that your motivation will be blurred. Or maybe with just a growth goal you actually have no idea what you are actually doing it for, which in turn can also be demotivating.
The perfect goal
In our view, the perfect goal is therefore a growth goal that incorporates flexible performance goals. It is good to know what you want to achieve, but you do not want to attach too specific numbers to this.
If you are a few pounds overweight and want to do something about it, it is good to say that you want to lose about 10 to 15 pounds, but please do not say that you MUST lose 15 pounds or even more at all costs. Set a flexible and above all realistic goal for yourself. If you say that you want to lose 20 kilos in 12 weeks, we can immediately tell you that your expectations are wrong. You won't succeed in what you want and the only thing you achieve after those 12 weeks is disappointment and relapse.
So set a realistic goal and start working on it with the intention to grow. The intention to improve yourself by 1% every day and to make positive changes in your lifestyle, your diet and your exercise pattern. As soon as you succeed and your lifestyle gets better every week, you will notice that the result will follow automatically, without turning it into an obsession.
Over time you have developed yourself, you have fallen and got up again and you have learned a lot. Not only about nutrition and training, but also about yourself. You may discover that the abstract number in your head or the six-pack do not make you happy at all. But an athletic body with a healthy lifestyle that can be combined with your social life.
Ask yourself what you really want
Now that you know what the differences are between result goals, performance goals and growth goals, it's a good time to work on this yourself. What do you really want? Will a body weight of 80 kilos or a six-pack suddenly make you happy? Or would you prefer to work on a healthy lifestyle and thus feel better in your skin and be able to look proudly at your own body?
Are you going to work and then fail? Or are you going to fail to achieve success? That choice is yours ...
Written by Mathias Jansen