It surprises some people that I don’t set goals.
I don’t set them each year, I don’t set them each quarter… I don’t even set them within a day.
I don’t set business goals, I don’t set personal goals, I don’t set them in a house, I do not set them with a mouse, I do not set them here or there, I do not set them anywhere.
I don’t set them for two reasons and they are perfectly encapsulated in two posts, one published very recently and one from 2013:
This is a post in which Alex West explains how goals interfered with his life. I don’t know Alex at all but I read this and his epiphany encapsulates a lot of why I don’t set goals – they’re arbitrary and when you reach them, you just set higher goals. The most I do in setting goals is to say “it’d be nice if I…” and that’s the goal.
This post by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert but of so much more, covers something I read in greater detail in his book:
Goals vs. Systems [Scott Adams Says] – “In my new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, I talk about using systems instead of goals. For example, losing ten pounds is a goal (that most people can’t maintain), whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower.”
Ok now get to the section where you read this – “Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise.”
Many times in life we yo-yo because willpower is the tool we use rather than building a good system. We exercise hard, then stop, then exercise hard, and convince ourselves interval training is the best. (it is for some things)
To improve something, you need a simple process and you aren’t trying to kill yourself. Pavel Tsatsouline studied some of the best powerlifters and came away with a very simple weight training protocol you can read on the Tim Ferriss blog. It’s short, it’s doable, and it doesn’t call on you to kill yourself every time you go to the gym.
Oh and stretch because it increases your strength by 10%. (if you listen to a lot of Tsatsouline, mobility is a word he uses a lot…)