Ever set yourself goals and realise you never quite succeed in achieving the outcome you want?
Or thought it was a goal of yours one day, only to realise another day that perhaps it isn’t?
When I was a kid my only concern in life was being a professional footballer (soccer). I wanted to play in Europe, drive a blue convertible and play football for a job. It was literally my only concern. I gave up hours of my ‘spare time’ to practice in the backyard, I didn’t go to highschool parties on Friday nights because I had a game the next day and I studied my favourite player David Beckham day in day out, trying to figure out ways to improve my ball playing ability and free kick taking. I travelled to the UK twice on tours at the age of 15 and 16 and then decided to leave school after 1 semester in year 12 to pursue my dream. I was prepared to risk it all, prepared to sacrifice social freedom for success and willing to do whatever it took to give me the best chance of achieving my goal. And I gave it a good crack too, trialling in the UK on my own at the age of 17 for 8 weeks.
Did I achieve it in the end?
No, unfortunately, I did not, but what I knew at the time was I understood my purpose. I understood that in order for me to achieve one thing I needed to potentially give up other things I enjoyed. I understood the purpose of my goals (self-fulfilment and becoming a professional sportsman) and I was willing to sacrifice to achieve it. Actually, to me, it didn’t even seem like a sacrifice, football was all I cared about.
Now, why am I telling you this?
Well for me I have experienced what it is like to set a goal, understand the purpose of why that goal is important to me and then I formulated a plan to achieve what I wanted. My purpose gave be context and that context allowed me to focus on the things that mattered most to me.
Without understanding your purpose, how can you possibly set reasonable goals?
And you know what, setting a body composition goal is no different. You must understand your purpose and recognise the dietary and social changes that may need to occur in order for you to succeed in reaching your goal prior to determining if the goal is actually achievable.
I too have had failed body composition goals, and hands down the reason for their failure was following a process whereby my purpose was overpowered by the social restriction and psychological stress the diet I was following put me through. I thought that in order for me to achieve my body composition goals I needed to eat ‘clean’ and follow a 6-8 meal plan a day. I remember at one stage I was genuinely forcing down tuna and bread because I thought you had to eat tuna to be a bodybuilder. Hell, one day I even microwaved the sandwich to try and make it better.
Newsflash… it tasted like soggy cat food and I would not recommend it.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it’s safe to say I hated the diet and I hated the process I thought I needed to follow to achieve my goals.
Essentially the diet controlled me, instead of me controlling the diet. Instead of food being enjoyable, it was a chore and it was a program I disliked following. But I did it anyway because I thought I had to.
Did I have a purpose for my goals?
Did I also choose to make the sacrifices I thought were necessary to achieve it?
But did the sacrifices I was making at the time support my goal and my purpose?
My goal, well at least what I thought it was my goal, was to get bigger and stay lean.
My purpose was superficial gratification. Or was it?
Well at least I thought it was but in reality, I wanted to be socially free, I didn’t want to follow a regimented food plan and I wanted to be able to enjoy training and food on my terms. There is nothing worse than being told what to do.
The crazy thing is, I was the one enforcing the rules I despised.
Then it dawned on me. I’ve been telling friends and family for years that you need to be your own boss and that knowledge is power, yet here I was following protocols blindly because I trusted opinions of friends and I was not in charge of my own food. In fact, I wasn't in charge of anything other than my work at that stage and it started to take its toll on me.
So back to the books I went..
I researched... I read... I learned.
Then when I thought I had learned enough, I set new goals. Actually, that’s not entirely true as I was still searching for physical change but the difference was, this time, I found a new purpose.
To improve my physique
Become more socially free
Control my own diet
Be my own boss
And so the journey of flexible dieting began and has now led me to being able to:
Eat when and what I want
Eat without guilt, fear, and frustration
Attend social events and not bring Tupperware food
Be my own boss in all facets of life
By understanding my purpose, I could set goals that worked WITH them as opposed to goals that worked against them. Never underestimate the power of knowing yourself in order for you to know what you can achieve.
Know your purpose, be your own boss!
Diet Smart. Not Hard.
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