You're Setting The Wrong Goals

You want to lose fat, build muscle, get stronger, run faster, excel in sports, run a 10k, improve sleep, reduce stress, feel better, master time management, and be the best you that you’ve ever been. You’re thinking this can be done in a few months…


We all want these things but being a logical adult, we cannot have all these things, at least not immediately. Over a span of years, sacrifice, and “lifestyle change” you may progressively improve in all of these areas. Your determination, self accountability, and willingness to change will dictate your success.

Most goals above have different paths towards accomplishment. Losing fat requires a caloric deficit and building muscle requires a surplus, opposing directions. Planning to do these simultaneously in a short period of time is like a dog chasing its tail. Prioritize what you want the most and push the antagonistic goal aside for a while. This entry is not for programming a plan (you can submit a new client application for that) but its managing expectations for yourself.

Hopefully you’re good at your job, you may even be an expert in your field. At the very least you should be significantly better at what you do than the general population. Maybe you had a childhood interest, you interned, went to college, and now have 10 years of experience working daily leading to your expertise. If you’ve never ran a proper fat loss diet, you have elementary knowledge (or less) on the subject, and that’s fine. With this level of experience expecting 6 pack abs in 60 days is ridiculous. This goal is doomed for failure from day 1. Anyone can have a successful diet, lose 0.5%-1% bodyweight per week for 12 weeks, take a little break, learn from your first diet, repeat and improve.

Abs, a 315lb bench press, and a 500lb deadlift are relatively common goals among men. I hear these coming from those who haven’t touched a weight for 15 years since high school and people who’ve been training consistently for 10 years. These two individuals are in completely different places in not only life but their conditioning and physical capabilities as well. Micro progression is what they both need. Get stronger, improve your technique, dial in your diet and sleeping, then add 5-10lbs every week to the bar. You’ll be hitting new personal records all the time and eventually reach some of these more lofty goals through a steady long term approach.

I have one final consideration for setting short and long term goals. Who do you want to be, a celebrity, a body builder, a fitness model, a social media person? You’re doing it wrong if those are your aspirations. You should be shooting for an improved version of yourself. There are infinite variables to break down between yourself and another individual. Whatever another person may be willing to dedicate or sacrifice to look the way they do may not be a desire or an option for you. There are exceptions to every rule but generally people at an elite level of anything are not on top by accident. It’s hard work, dedication, and prioritizing what it takes to make them better than everyone else at a very specific thing. That prioritization likely comes at a tradeoff with other aspects of their life and that is something you have to consider when creating your own goals. You will not get elite results without elite effort, get out what you put in.