GOALS. Why they are valuable... and why we avoid setting them.

I want to talk to you today about GOOOOOOAAALS!

This is one of my favorite topics and I’m excited to get into it. Why do we set them and how important are they? There’s a lot behind this. Goals contribute so much towards your work. One of the big things goals do for you (in fitness or anything else in life!) is they provide focus for your efforts.

If you are doing any of the following:

  • getting up in the morning
  • getting up
  • lifting weights
  • eating broccoli
  • sprinting
  • taking care of your body

Let me ask- why are you doing that? What is the outcome you are hoping to achieve? If you know the answer, THEN you can envision how your actions serve to help one another.

Let’s say my goal is to lose 10 lbs of fat, and I know I have to get up every morning and work out every other day. I might have some collateral ideas too-- like I’m going to lift some weights and build muscle. Those things serve each other. Then, I can see how these outcomes are in alignment with each other, and my efforts can become more streamlined to support my goals.

If I have goals to be a champion powerlifter and also win the Boston Marathon, it will become obvious that those 2 objectives might be competing interests that will be difficult to reconcile. So, having a solid goal will focus your efforts to support your activities. Having a goal/setting your sights on something, taking benchmarks and measurements allow you get some motivation from your actions and activities. When you:

-see the weight increase on the bar

-notice the weight go down on the scale

-see your body fat decreases

-learn something new

... you become a little more motivated!

Every action you take builds a little bit of momentum.

Which becomes easier and easier to accumulate...  and you will be more successful along that journey. Just getting closer to your goal will increase your motivation.  If you have a “North star” that you are really attracted to, it will not be difficult to pull that motivation out of yourself AND it also makes you more focused and committed to the outcome.

Commitment does a lot for you:

  • It will give you more energy to put into your activities and training… to get you to where you want to go.
  • It will keep you from using a setback as a reason to quit.
  • Commitment will get you into a problem-solving mode, instead of a problem finding mode.

Having a goal really helps with your commitment, AS LONG as it means something to you and you are really tied to that. Just by having a goal- you have more focus, motivation, commitment AND it’s also a chance to practice some selfishness.

It’s good to benefit others, but our actions should also benefit ourselves directly. I believe that people don’t often have a healthy way to practice this selfishness. Selecting a goal for you that you really care about gives you a chance  to get out of your comfort zone and practice that.

Here’s another thought: “The goal is to end in a noble place, not to begin in one”. It doesn’t need to be a high falutin' or an intrinsically altruistic objective that you start with! It can be selfish... and that can be enough to get you moving. As you grow and become more, then you can have these more holistic/noble endeavors. 

I’m going to talk about when a goal is intimidating and how to set those big ones. Why people don’t set goals:

When you start to write down the things that you want (and this is how I often feel, when I set goals), I go “UGH, do I even deserve that?!"  "Who am I to get what I what?"  "To achieve something?" "To bench press 1000 lb (that's not my goal, but that's a pretty cool goal).

Imposter syndrome” and thoughts of “I don’t deserve it”, are very real for me. Get those thoughts out into the air, write down the thoughts that are around these things… and start to confront some of these ideas.

Because if you are reading this, you deserve it! YOU! YES YOU! DESERVE IT.

Setting goals can be overwhelming!

For example, if you have a goal to lose 100 lbs you’re going to totally change your life. That’s amazing! You should do that, if you have 100 lbs to lose. SET THAT GOAL, that’s huge. It might take you a year, maybe 2 years, maybe longer to get to that goal. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set it, but it DOES mean you need to break it into smaller bite size pieces.

Sometimes people don't set goals because:

1. They are intimidated


2. Having that goal puts a pressure on them to feel the pressure to act and achieve and “win”. Otherwise, they’ll be mad at themselves.

But that's kind of good, you should set a goal that's a little bit scary. Set a goal that's challenging. I think you should set big goals that are a little bit intimidating and then take them piece by piece. If there’s a goal that you are kind of afraid to achieve, GOOD. That's scary, but you can breathe and sit with that fear and breathe into it.

Man, that fear turns into excitement. You can use that energy to attack, to get aggressive with your process, whether that’s being a better friend, being in great shape, whatever.

Whatever that is- use that energy you feel to fuel the effort. To fuel your changes, to make new habits, to change your trajectory.

Here’s a secret to keep from getting overwhelmed:

Don’t set goals for items that you want. Don’t look at things that you want to bring into your life.

Set a goal for becoming a certain kind of person, or growing into being a more ideal version of yourself. Then be the kind of person who attracts those things into their life. For me, there's a phrase that gets tossed out in self-development world. I think if you set in this big picture, it’s a great north star.

TFW Portland says: Let your north star be your compass!

TFW Portland says: Let your north star be your compass!


I have a goal to be (pound for pound) the strongest man in Oregon. That’s a huge goal that I’m years away from achieving. But it’s like the north star, which is here (I'm gesturing my hand up super high!) Every day, I guide myself on my journey along my path to the north star and I don’t actually need to reach out and touch it. All my decisions or focus are motivated off this north star up high, and then I forget about it. It’s up there and I'm down here in the dirt. I keep looking up and say “Yep, I'm headed in the right direction”.

I hope I get there someday. I would celebrate that! But if I never get there, THAT'S OK. I’m really happy on this journey here in the dirt because I’m having fun. I lifted the goal up and used it as a guidepost and then I don’t feel like I’m overwhelmed that I’m not there yet. I’m a long way off, and that’s okay with me. Because it’s a guiding light. That helps me take off the pressure which gives me more enthusiasm or excitement for the process.

Here's another way to look at it. A marathon is 26.2 miles. And only about an inch of that is the finish line. The rest of it is just the race. Life is the process, a very small amount of it is the celebration in the end zone.

So, set big goals! And then have small benchmarks.

If I’m trying to bench 500 lbs, I will first bench 100 lbs, then 200, then 250, and keep going and going until you get there. And those are your signposts along your path following your north star.

I’m going to end with a request that everybody reading this, post a goal below or your goal setting process. That’s how I learn-- I learn from other people! If you have a great goal or a great idea, share it with everybody.

Coach Josh signing out, helping YOU bring out the warrior within.