Do You Need Goals or Standards?

Do you need goals or do you need standards?  A couple weeks ago I saw a post from a friend and fellow gym owner asking this question and it really got my gears turning.  


Goals are important.  I’m not going to sit here and say they aren’t.  But many goals end up being outcome goals.  Outcome goals, like “I want to lose 20lbs” or “I want to win this basketball game”, tend to be things that are actually out of your control.  Ultimately, you can’t control if the scale measures a 20lbs drop in the earth’s gravitational pull on your body mass.  What you can control are the day to day decisions that will ultimately cause the weight to come off. 


This is where process goals come in.  Process goals are focused on things that are within your control.  The 100 workout challenge is a perfect example of this.  You can control whether you finish 100 workouts between July 1st and December 31st.  Yes things come up, but you can plan for that and still make it.  

Typically to consistently accomplish process goals, you need to have some standards.  These are the actions you take daily and weekly that are part of your standard operating procedures.  


So what are your standards?  I’ll go first : )


This isn’t meant to be a “look how disciplined I am” list.  This whole subject got my gears turning because for the last 4 years in particular, I have slowly but surely raised a lot of my standards.  Among other benefits, I am much happier.  Here are some standards that are working for me:


  1. No snooze button.  Even when I don’t wake up feeling rested, I just get moving.  That extra 10 minutes of sleep won’t leave me rested; it will leave me LATE.  I’ve learned enough times doing it the wrong way to just skip the snooze.  It’s never worth it.
  2. Cold Plunge Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings. Speaking of getting woken up in the morning. I do this in the mornings a couple hours before I lift, which means I am not doing a cold plunge again until 48 hours after a lift. I do this to avoid the potential impairment of muscle building that cold water immersion right after a workout can cause. There are a lot of biohacker / health / wellness trends I don’t much care for but I think cold water immersion and sauna are well proven and far from passing trends.
  3. Tomorrow gets planned in detail before today ends.  It’s hard to overstate how much this has helped. The more I can spell out my schedule the day before, the fewer decisions I make during the day and the more I focus on just executing a decent plan.  Since implementing this discipline I have been getting a lot more done, much better, with less stress and burnout.  Another unexpected benefit of using a paper daily planner: I mindlessly scroll less on social media.  
  4. Strength train Monday, Wednesday, Friday, go on a 1 hour walk/ruck the other days of the week.  What happens when I don’t feel like it or the weather sucks?  I do it anyway.  
  5. No booze, no added sugar, no junk during the week.  I feel crummy when I don’t eat well.  I can’t perform for my clients or employees without decent nutrition.  I allow myself treats on the weekends but…
  6. Keep weekends reasonable.  Relaxing is good.  A couple adult beverages are fine.  That said, I have an ability to go hog wild with too much booze and junk if I go full “dis-regulated” mode.  While I will relax a little on the weekend, my choices need to at least resemble the disciplined week enough that it doesn’t take 3 days to recover from the weekend.
  7. Drink 100oz of water a day.  I’ve done the full gallon a day thing before. For me, I find 100oz is the better number most of the time.  Perfection isn’t required with much of this to get the benefits from hydrating.
  8. Read.  Don’t stream or scroll.  I realized watching something on TV at the end of the day doesn’t really unwind me.  Reading definitely does.  Sometimes I read stuff for motivation or education.  Other times, I just read whatever interests me.  Remember, reading is good for you.  Scrolling is good for social media companies but bad for you.  Streaming is great for netflix but is it good for you?  It’s totally cool to make an exception for a specific show you really like when that comes out.  I definitely caught the last season of stranger things and the terminal list.  Now that I’m through those, I’m back to my books.

What standards do you want to start holding yourself to?  If you want more inspiration, check out 101 Easy Healthy Choices.


When you are ready to chat with a personal trainer about your goals and standards, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page and I’ll be in touch.


Our first location serves Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community.  Our new location serves Kingston and the broader southern New Hampshire community.   We help people strength train, walk daily, and eat real food.


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