This is an important question to ask. Are you hitting your training goals? If you are then great, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, then something is wrong and something needs to be changed.
Everyone promises you that you’ll add inches to your biceps, pounds to your squat, and able to do complex gymnastic feats with their program. The worst of them say it can be done instantly. Others that actually work, will say at least that your own work must be added to it.
Let’s look at 8 different things that can be stopping you from hitting your training goals.
1) Unclear goals
If your goals aren’t properly set from the beginning then you’re going to have a hard time hitting them. Just make sure that you become clear and specific on what it is that you want.
And if you don’t have goals…TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE THEM DOWN! Did you know that that little action will immediately increase your chances of hitting them. This isn’t because there is something that is magical about writing something down, but you have to become clear (at least to some degree) in order to write something down. Once that is done your mind starts to go to work on ways it can bring it into reality.
2) Out of whack expectations
If your goal is to hit 600 lbs. in the deadlift this year and you’ve struggling currently to break 300 then I’m sorry to say that your expectations are out of whack. This is unrealistic. No matter how solid and perfect your training is this is not likely to happen.
Much of lack of hitting your goals is too high of expectations. I’ve been guilty of this one often. Sometimes it’s just through honest mistake. The first time I set a goal to hold a one arm handstand I had no clue just how hard it was. I didn’t know that even if you’re decent at the handstand this goal will likely take 2 or more years of focused training. And I thought I could do it in a matter of months.
3) Poor physical training
If your training sucks then it won’t help you to get a goal. For the most part if you have a solid progressive training plan you should be making regular progress towards your goal. There are times when you need to do something dramatically different, or maybe you just don’t know the right way to progress between two steps.
A basic understanding of progressive strength training works in probably 90% of cases. Once you have this my favorite way to go is then to listen to your body and you’ll make progress. Just do more than last time in some form or another. Recognize the progress doesn’t come linearly but more in fits and starts. Depending on how you train you will have different results.
It comes down to if your training isn’t getting you closer to your goal you need to change it.
This may be the top of the list in what stops people from achieving what they want. If you’re stopped by an injury or pain you have to fix that before you can move in a positive direction if your goal lies in that direction.
Sure there are some things that are beyond fixing but most are not. With the proper knowledge in how you can go a long way toward a solution. A few things that I’ve seen success with in the past for self-help in injuries are biofeedback training, mobility work, and taking care of the mental/emotional side as well.
There are definitely times when a doctor is needed but I would say even in the case of chronic injuries (acute injuries are often a different matter) that is the last option not the first.
5) Poor Nutrition
This is huge for muscle gain or fat loss goals. If you’re goal is to lift something though, and you don’t need to gain or lose weight in order to be able to do it, then this will have a smaller effect but its still there.
Of primary importance how you eat will effect both how you feel and how you think. Since your training is a reflection of those two things, nutrition certainly has an impact on what you can accomplish. To put it simply a few changes and tweaks here can be the difference that makes a difference.
Like your training, if your eating isn’t getting the results you want then some change is in order.
6) Lack of Focus
Here’s another one where I struggle with at times. For me, it’s not that I can’t focus, in fact I’m quite good at it, but that I spread my focus too thin which results in the same effect. You can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. And overall you can’t focus on too many things all together.
If I chose just a single goal and worked towards that, achieving it would be a piece of cake in my mind. But when you make it ten goals the focus is spread and without prioritization none may happen. And when you add focus in other areas of your life that are more or less important, you may become very challenged in knocking your goals down.
But at the same time if you have the proper systems in place to keep that focus, where you can shift from focusing on one thing at a time, then the next in a sequential manner, rather than simultaneous, you can do very well.
After all I am known as a physical culture renaissance man, and leaning towards more of just a renaissance man in general. I would rather be 90% at ten different things than 100% on one. So I am happy to make some sacrifice in this area and not be the best at just one thing.
7) Lack of Consistency
All the focus in the world won’t do anything if you only do it for a week and then move onto something else. Anything worth achieving takes time to do. You must keep up with the progressive training that will get you there.
For a long time I’ve sought to do a straddle press to a handstand. Truthfully it’s been a goal of mine for years. And I’ve worked on it here and there. But the past couple months where I’ve made the most progress I have been consistently working on it and for longer than at any other time. Plus I will continue to do so until it is accomplished.
You know with mental training it’s fun to do the sexy tricks that immediately allow you to double what you can accomplish. I LOVE THOSE! And they can contribute to the big picture. But the truth is you’ll have far more long-term success by using the mental training that keeps you focused on your goals, ramps up your volition and makes success eminent.
8) Shiny Object Syndrome
Ooooh what’s that? The brand new ancient hieroglyphic Egyptian training program of the Pharoahs?!? I want it! My current training plan be damned, this is what will finally make me strong.
Sound familiar? If it does then you may be suffering from shiny object syndrome where you have no focus, no progressive work, and no consistency but jump from one program promising the sky to another. If your goals are determined by what other people say you should accomplish there may be a problem.
To combat this recognize what your own goals are and what you’re currently doing to hit them. Only check out something new if it can be added on top, without subtracting from what you’re currently doing, or it may give you some new ideas and things to try that you can experiment with to see if they move you even closer to your goals. Evaluate on this basis and you’ll have a better idea of whether something can truly help you or not.
What are you losing progress over?
So that covers 8 things that may be holding you back. The biggest two for me are my expectations being to high in the past and then not focusing enough. So this year I will be working primarily in these areas to make sure I do them better.
Having read through these the question to ask yourself is what is holding you back? Go ahead and post it in the comments and what you’re going to do to make it better and achieve your goals.