Choosing a Goal

My goal is to lose weight.

My goal is to eat better.

My goal is to get stronger.

My goal is to have more sex with my wife.

What do all of those have in common? Yep, very weak goals. Easy to say you did it or walk away without losing face. When I sent out the survey to you guys I asked you to rate how easy the goal would be to accomplish. If it was too easy, it’s not worth doing, and when you achieve the goal it won’t feel like much.

In July 2013 Jay and I did our first Tough Mudder event in Lake Tahoe at the Northstar Ski Resort.

That Event Kicked my Ass!!!!

I signed up for the event in December 2012 and prepared for almost 7 months for this event despite having severe gallbladder pain.

This video motivated me.

So I made a plan, I ran on the treadmill 3-4 days a week at the gym at my work, I started doing weight training for the first time in my life. By the way I had no idea what I was doing at all. I was already losing weight and I felt great.

Here is a six-week training plan for a tough mudder. I think this workout would kill me right now.

In short, I had a goal. My motivation was that if I didn’t prepare, I’d have a horrible time and look like an idiot in front of my cousin who was running with me. Even so I was still woefully under-prepared, however I completed most of the obstacles and finished the 12 mile run at a starting and finishing altitude of 6300 feet and a midway altitude of 8600 feet.

According to www.mindtools.com there are 5 golden rules of goal setting. The second one is very relevant here, set “SMART goals”.

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

With my tough mudder example lets look at the goal setting:

  • Specific. – Run though mudder in July in Tahoe – Check
  • Measurable. – I either finish it or I dont – Check
  • Attainable. – This part was iffy – I wanted a challenge and set my aim high – Check
  • Relevant. – I needed to improve my physical fitness so this goal made a ton of sense – Check
  • Time Bound. – Only 7 months – Check

I think its very easy to set goals in such a way that you give yourself a way out. Don’t give yourself a way out, either do it and commit or don’t do it at all. The worst promise of all that you can break is the promise to yourself. I know what it’s like to have no sense of integrity and you fail at your promises to yourself. That you must not do.

As the character Polonius states in Hamlet:(emphasis mine)

Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There- my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear’t that th’ opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all- to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!

This, gentlemen, is integrity.

Another suggestion for goal setting is to write your goals down. It’s much easier to “forget” some of the details if it isn’t written down.

The last and critical part of goal setting is accountability. Tim Ferriss talks extensively about this. Particularly he discusses setting negative consequences for failure to meet a goal. This works by creating a loss aversion as a motivation mechanism for attaining your goal, channeling the emotions of embarrassment, guilt and humiliation to help with your goal setting. An example of this would be giving to an “anti-charity” such as a Jew putting money into an escrow account that would be donated to the american Nazi party if their goal was not attained. Coach.me, stickk.com, dietbet.com are all examples of these services.

So what’s your goal? What do you want to change? Now’s the time to make that change.

Set your goal now!!

I’ll leave this here.

Stay Superior!


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Matt
Matt is a husband, a father, an avid motorcycle rider, and an all around awesome guy.

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