With over a decade of work as a trainer and performance coach I have had the opportunity to work with countless individuals and athletes, groups, teams, schools and coaches in the many different training and coaching environments that I have found myself in. This week alone I will coach close to 150 high school athletes at 2 different schools, and approximately 30 adult clients ranging from mid 20's to late 60's. All of these individuals, regardless of age, gender or ability have one thing in common…the quest to better performance. So why is it that so many athletes of all levels fail in their pursuit of greatness? Continuously I speak to and see people who have set goals but yet fail in their quest for a better version of themselves; a version that will be stronger, move better, look healthier and more athletic on the field of play, or just perform better in the sport of life…
Here are 3 quick tips that you must keep close to you at all times and remind yourself daily as you fight for the better performing version of yourself. And remember that it is always a fight, nothing great comes easy when it comes to climbing the ladder to success. If you are ready for some struggle and can accept the fact that you will need to go the extra mile you will be rewarded…As the saying goes, “there is less traffic on the road when you go the extra mile.” It’s true, there are relatively few people willing to put in the time and the work to achieve greatness. Society has become alright with being average, and just showing up…If this is you we must make a change. Whether it’s in health and fitness, business, sport, parenting, a hobby, leadership, etc. You must make a change as there is a better version of you to be uncovered...
TIP #1: Set 3 Goals
Take a minute to think about your goals and why you made them…Goal setting is not something that should be done on a whim or taken lightly, it should take dedicated time and careful consideration for all the factors at hand. Remember, you are about to spend a lot of time and energy in your journey towards accomplishing them, you need to take your time in choosing them as well. Pick goals that are both important to you and that you feel will truly make you happy when you achieve them. Setting a goal that lacks substance and really doesn’t excite you or get the juices flowing will in turn lead to a similar effort when going about trying to achieve it. You must be so fired up about the goal that you are thinking about it when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night! Pick a goal that will challenge you and force you to overreach a bit, this is important. Not enough stress and the system will not adapt or make changes. For example, if you are currently running an 8-minute mile and you decide to dedicate the next month towards a new goal of running a 7:58...Although improvement, unless you are already an elite level runner this may not provide enough of a stimulus or challenge to the system. Or if the goal is not realistic and causes too much stress the system will also not adapt, and in many ways, it will shut down. Such as dropping a minute over the course of a month. Find the sweet spot, and choose goals that challenge you but don’t bury you. There’s also nothing wrong with having only one goal, especially if that one goal is a big one. I like to encourage clients and athletes to pick a big goal first which should represent where they will spend the majority of their time and energy. Then pick 2 smaller goals that will be key factors in achieving the big goal.
For example, if I want to run a faster 40-yard dash I know I will need to spend time on my explosiveness out of the start and running faster. These are tied directly to my big goal. 2 auxiliary goals to running a faster 40 may be to 1) get adequate sleep so muscles can recover from tough workouts each day. 2) Be sure to record and watch video at least twice a week so I can get visual feedback of my technique.
Here’s an example from an athlete of ours showing goals they made for themselves before going off to college this fall:
TIP #2: Write down 3 Catalysts
Now that you have identified your goals it’s time to write down 3 catalysts that will help you reach those goals. Catalysts represent actions or habits that you will incorporate into your daily routine to help drive you closer to your goals. For example; if you want to lose 20lbs you will need to make some changes to your current lifestyle to help you reach that goal. Making positive changes to your nutrition, drinking more water, and being committed to your training will all prove to catalyze your quest for the weight loss. Stay committed to these catalysts and you will not be disappointed.
TIP #3: Write down 3 Inhibitors
The inhibitors are those things that are keeping you from reaching your goals, aka your weaknesses. If you are not able to identify your weaknesses this whole process will not work. We must be able to take a very objective approach to identifying these inhibitors, don’t allow feelings or emotions to get in the way here you have no time for that. You have identified your goals and the catalysts that will get you there, now you must put pride aside and admit that you have some weak spots or habits that are keeping you from being successful.
Excuses I hear quite often:
“I know what I need to do I just don’t have time to commit to it.” What I hear; “I know what I need to do I just don’t want to commit the time to doing it.” There’s always time, you must just make some sacrifices to get there.
“But I enjoy going out with friends and eating what I want and having some drinks a day or two a week. I don’t want to give that up.” What I hear; “I don’t have what it takes to get to where I truly want to be. I would rather go out with my friends and eat and drink things that take me away from my goals so that I can fit in with them.” Nothing good comes easy people!! If you want to make changes in your life you must be willing to make sacrifices to get there. If your friends are truly that, they will be supportive and encouraging and may even join you in the journey.
“They have it so easy, I wish I could have their body and their life, they’re so lucky.” What I hear; “I’m lazy and would rather discredit their hard work and dedication than to recognize that maybe I could learn something from them.” It’s rare that someone with success got there without tons of hard work put in to achieve it. You may not see that because you have chosen not to, and because it highlights your weaknesses.
Humans are generally super lazy organisms, we take the easy route when given a choice and we choose not to work harder than needed because our society has streamlined being “average”. We have made it alright to fit in with the masses, to simply do what’s needed rather than go the extra mile and achieve something great…There’s a reason why that guy or girl you know is a fucking rock star and you can bet that they have a story to tell that you can most likely learn something from. Surround yourself with people like that and you will do great things.
Take the Kenyans distance running dynasty for example, which many attribute to an innate genetic potential that separates them from the rest of the race. I’m sorry but that’s not the case. In fact, there is a lot of science that has gone into testing this theory and others like it and what they have found is that there’s nothing innate or genetic that separate
the Kenyans in distance running, or even the Jamaican sprinters from any other race in the world. Britain was at one time the distance running super power, now they can no longer make those claims. Their genes haven’t changed to cause this, but the Kenyans work ethic and training process has. In some of the regions in Africa that boast such
dominance, including Ethiopia, athletes run from a very young age as this is now a piece of their culture, it’s a way of escaping poverty and creating an opportunity for a better life. You can bet that the Kenyans without the drive or work ethic to be great will not make it, just like if an American child were to grow up in that culture with them and had the drive and determination and commitment would also make it if they wanted it bad enough. It all comes down to how bad you want it…?
Jamaican sprinters in the city of Kingston are taught to sprint at a young age, 2-3 years old. They love to sprint, and they love to perform just as Usain Bolt has shown us for the last decade. Yes, to be a good sprinter you must have adequate quick twitch fibers, this is a prerequisite to running fast. But a Jamaican with these prerequisites doesn’t have any more quick-twitch fibers then a sprinter in the US, thus there is no genetic advantage. It’s the same for the Kenyans as well, there is in fact a certain potential that will be needed to even get a seat at the table so to speak. However, we are not talking freak potential here, and there is no more of this with the Kenyans or the Jamaicans than with the Brits or Canadians. What there may be more of is drive and determination than we see in other races or cultures. We must learn from them if we too want to be great, be it weight loss, business success, athletic accomplishment, academics, coaching, etc.
Humans have the ability to adapt to whatever environment they put themselves in, or whatever lifestyle we live…When choosing your goals be sure to put yourself in an environment that will nurture success. Stay committed to your goals, focus on the catalysts and cut out the inhibitors. Surround yourself with people that will help you in this process and the sky is the limit!