Keep yourself accountable
One of the differences between training and exercising, is that training is directed towards a specific goal or outcome – you are preparing yourself to achieve ‘X’. This is part of the reason competitions and events can be a great kick up the ass… you know you and your work, or lack thereof, will be up on display on October 24th or whatever the date may be.
You are not simply going for a run for the sake of it, you are preparing for your first half marathon and this run is part of the plan that gets you across the finish line.
You are not simply hitting chest today, you are preparing for your upcoming powerlifting competition and this session is part of the plan that gets you your goal total.
I think this distinction – between training and exercise – is an important one. A lot of the times I have failed to make progress, I look back and I had no real goal. ‘Get stronger’ is a great idea, but it isn’t a defined goal. It provides no bulls-eye to aim for, let alone hit.
So keep yourself accountable. Set goals and expectations, define why you are training. It doesn’t always have to be a competitive goal, either. One of my goals this year is to have 17inch arms because in my head, that’s when I can get a tattoo sleeve started.
If nothing else, going through this process and definitively setting out what you want to achieve is a fantastic way to cut the crap from your training. Prioritise the work that gets you closer to your goal. It’s also a great method to see what you really want – if your goal is to drop 10kg but you keep stocking up on the Cadbury, how bad do you really want it?
Every now and then, it’s fine to have a hiatus from goals and training optimally. Take a few months and just do whatever you feel like (strongman, kayaking, indoor soccer). Hell, take time off training altogether. But for the most part, keep an eye on your goals – make sure the ship is steering in the right direction.