Today is the greatest
Day I've ever known
Can't live for tomorrow,
Tomorrow's much too long....
~Billy Corgan, "Today," Siamese Dream (Smashing Pumpkins), 1993
We are a culture who thrive on the idea of setting goals and reaching them. It is deeply ingrained in us from adolescence. I know I am a product of this. In fact, a large part of my training practice is about how to set and achieve goals.
However, what I've come to learn about myself is that I, for the most part, live without goals. It has been a liberating experience for me. Contrary to what most believe, it most certainly doesn't mean that I have had to stop achieving things.
All it means is that you stop letting yourself be limited by yesterday's failures and tomorrows goals.
I used to say, "If you don't know where you are going, you will never get anywhere!" Now I realize, this isn't completely accurate. Try getting on a bus without looking at where it is headed. You'll end up somewhere! You just didn't know you were going to end up there.
If you open you mind to new possibilities, a life without goals, you may end up in places you never imagined seeing. You may learn some unexpected things and explore new territory. You may just surprise yourself with a hidden talent. You may just lose that weight, put on that muscle, or gain that speed. It's beautiful, but it's also a difficult transition. One that my close friends have heard me dub "unplugging from the matrix".
"Tee, what's the problem with goals?"
I used to be meticulous about goal setting, both in business and training my own body. I would have daily, weekly, monthly.... You get the point. The problem with this is it never worked out that precisely. The story goes like this...You set a goal and put together your action plan. Step number 2 is one you absolutely dread, so you procrastinate. You get a Facebook update from a friend and it's a video of someone falling off a skateboard...it can't wait. Before you know it you goals have been pushed off, altered, or just plain dropped.
And this is the merry-go-round/hamster wheel we all subscribe to but we are cool with because "we have goals"!. Sometimes we accomplish them and feel amazing. Often times we fall short and we blame ourselves for lack of motivation or discipline.
Well, I don't think you are the problem. Just the system you are using.
When you are "trapped in the matrix" you have to abide by a certain set of rules, guidelines, and code of conduct to reach the desired end result. You are extremely limited in your actions and when you don't feel like doing something, you have to force yourself to do it. Your path has been chosen for you. No room for exploration. Stick to the plan even if your passion tells you otherwise.
Some goal systems (Matrixes) are more flexible. Nothing is more flexible than no goal system at all.
"Tee, how does it work?"
Stop setting goals for the year, month, day, etc. No obsession about tracking or action steps. Although, it is cool to write a couple reminders down.
What now? Lay on the couch eating Doritos and playing xBox? No sir/ma'am! You simply DO. Find something that gets your motor running (you are passionate about) and DO IT. Just because you don't have goals doesn't mean you don't do anything! Create something, produce something, follow YOUR passion.
It's amazing. You wake up and do what you want to do. For me it's usually training, but it could be creating a new website, planning a new business venture, setting up a photo shoot, or spending time with some of my incredible friends or clients (who are often in business themselves). There is no limit, there is no Matrix.
I must admit this is a lifestyle change and it takes getting used to. Sometimes I felt lost. Most of the time...I felt free. The best part is, I usually end up accomplishing more than if I had set goals. Whether I achieve or not isn't the point at all: because I am truly doing something that I want to do. Always.
I end up in wonderful places and situations with wonderful people. I had no idea I would get there when I started.
"Tee, so how does this pertain to training?"
The "no goal" approach is a philosophy on life but one that can also be tied into my training philosophy Kaizen. Kaizen means "change for the better" or "continuous improvement". When used in business, it's a concept of taking large goals and breaking them down into small attainable goals which enhance the process as a whole. I have altered this philosophy to fit my style of training. Most clients come to me with a goal set in mind ie. losing weight, gaining speed, losing inches. Often times there is a number associated with this goal. Some trainers will constantly take you to the scale or test you on the clock to ensure you are making progress. If that works for you, then great. The way I see it, setting a goal places limitations on our progress. Instead, I encourage you, from the very beginning, to throw conventional goals out the window, and open your mind to the possibilities of being the absolute best you can be. If we all strive to be the best we can, like I said before: whether or not we achieve a goal is irrelevant, we are doing the best we possibly can and we are constantly improving. We do this because we love it, and we love how it makes us feel, look, or perform. If you concentrate on this, all things are possible.
Using this strategy and philosophy has increased speed, dropped weight, reduced inches, and improved flexibility time and time again. Usually, we end up achieving more and going above and beyond what we though possible.
If you live without goals or train without goals and fail, is it really a failure? You only fail if you don't get to where you wanted to go. If you don't know your final destination - then there is no failure, only Kaizen.
Ultimately, no matter what path you take or where you end up - life is beautiful. There is no wrong path, no mistakes, no wrong turn. Just different. Different is good. Different is beautiful. Different is experience.
It's all about the journey.