What Should Be vs What Is

Reality is a harsh and cruel mistress, but she’s always fair.

Mark Young, a fellow fitness professional and human flag wrote a post here that really got me thinking about the nature of goal achievement. When it comes right down to it, most of the times when we’re chasing after a particular goal we’re living in our own heads, and it’s straight up kills any chance that we have towards making real progress.

Think about it this way: how many times have you encountered someone trying to lose or gain weight? Pretty often I bet. Now how many times have you heard that same person swear to the high heavens that they aren’t eating “that much”, or that they’re eating like a pregnant giant yet can’t gain weight? Probably a good 90% of the time – and these are the people who will spend most of their days spinning their wheels; the physical embodiment of the phrase “traveling without moving.”

So what gives? Their continued execution deserves some props, but they have no objective tools by which they can measure their progress, and they’re going nowhere because of it.

Girth measurements? Objective.

The way your clothes fit? Objective.

Tracking your food intake & strength gain numbers? Objective.

Guessing how much you do or don’t eat? Hell naw!

Having tools like these at your disposal isn’t only recommended but downright necessary because they tell you the most important thing ever: are you moving closer to your goal? It’s like the ultimate flow chat to awesomeness.

No matter what formulas you follow or other people tell you, if you aren’t making any progress towards your goal, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1 – How is your execution? Are you handling your business and doing what you need to do?

2 –  Have you done #1 consistently?

3 – Have you given it enough time to work?

If you answer yes to the above questions then you need to change something. Don’t continue banging your head against the wall of defeat out of some false sense of commitment to a plan that isn’t working. Despite your inner voice telling you that it should be working, the reality of the situation is that it isn’t. Adjust your course of action and begin using some tools outside of yourself to track your progress. Rinse and repeat until your awesometicity quotient increases by at least 172%.

If you answer no to those same questions, you might need to change things up but guess what? You have no idea if you do or not. Your execution and consistency is all over the place, plus you haven’t given enough time for the fruits of your labor to grow, so even if you do switch things up you’ll probably end up in the same position as the one you just left, constantly stuck in the should be loop and not addressing the root of what is. Until you meet those three basic requirements you have no frame of reference to base your changes on, so anything you do is pretty much a shot in the dark.

I wish someone had told me this when I was younger, but sadly I had to get it dropped on my head in a song for it to stick:  a movement in any random direction is not progression.

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  1. says

    Well, I must say, this should be a slap in the face for most people who think they’re doing enough!

    But are they, really?

    If they are not getting the expected results, it’s either the programme doesn’t work or they have inferior genetics, to them.

    And all these egotistical people neglect to consider the more important factors: are their goals practical? Are they putting in enough work? And, above all, are they being honest with themselves?

    • says

      This happens for a lot of people, so it’s a true, realistic look at the problem. If someones first reaction is always to look towards something OUTSIDE of themselves as the source of the problem, then that’s not only destructive in terms of what their goal is, but in life too. Such a horrible mindset to have. Yeah, of course there are times when things may not be ideal, but there is always something on THEIR end that they can do more to, if not turn it around completely, at least make it a lot better.

  2. Nancy C. says

    Rog, what do you consider “enough time to work”? I have terrible nutrition/training ADD and will jump from one thing to another, a lot of times based on reading some guy’s article that seems like it makes sense (and no, I’m not referring to you!) It’s been a struggle just getting focused enough on one or two things without worrying that I’ve given it enough time to work. I suppose this is topic enough for another whole post. LOL

    • says

      I was about to say, we need to have a talk! 😉

      “Enough time to work” is incredibly goal specific, but I’ll keep it limited to fat loss for practical purpose: 2 weeks, and here is why. If your execution and consistency are on point, and you’re doing what you need to do and aren’t seeing an iota of progress towards your goal, then you must change something.

      On the other hand, if there is progress and you’re just not happy with the rate that it’s happening at, that’s another issue. It could have to simply executing a bit better, or changing things up entirely.

  3. says

    Well said my friend.

    I have always had my clients keep data of their gains (or weight loss) but never thought to do it myself until a few months ago when I started Cressey’s Show and Go. I wrote down every number and took notes throughout the entire program and for the first time I could see the numbers skyrocket.

    I have made some pretty badass gains I’m now seeing all the plateaus I could have avoided for the past 10 years. Numbers look much better on paper than in your head. No matter how awesome you think your doing, numbers don’t lie. Check it.

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