Goals vs Results

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

– Earnest Hemingway

There is a difference, and in my opinion it is one we too often overlook or miss. Some might say I’m simply dealing with semantics, and you would be right, but to me it is also a philosophical argument. When the difference is understood, I truly believe positive things can happen. So to illustrate my point, I would like to share with you my coaching experience and the epiphany I had during that time. It, like everything else, was not an original thought, but I have liked this point of view now for so long, I can’t remember where I had heard it first. But in sports, too often, the goal is to win. The expression, “Win at all costs!” comes to mind, but that leaves a lot of wiggle-room for players/people to cheat!

When I was coaching our youth rugby club in Maryland, it started to dawn on me that it wasn’t right to make winning the goal; that was obvious—of course we want to win, but rugby is a team game and a lot has to go right on the field, as a team, to win. So I started to break the game down into its component parts and stressed that if we achieve our goals of strong scrummaging, making our tackles, keeping the ball in hand and retaining possession…victory would be the result.

Now, let us apply this to weight loss and muscle gain. How many people do you know who lost weight, reached their “goal,” but not long after, being so successful, they slacked off and ended up gaining it all back, if not more? So I disagree with making weight loss the goal. I see it as being the result of reaching other key goals. Working out once or twice a week is a valuable goal to have and easy to stick to. Eating vegetables every day is a great goal and much easier to keep. These are also goals you can measure and check every day. Then, the result of reaching these goals will be your ideal body composition.

Looking at it from this point of view also helps make the planning/structure easier to sort out. Again, I know I am playing with semantics, but if I say I want to lose 20 lbs. by Christmas, the next question becomes, “How are you going to do it?” Well, you will then start listing all the steps and actions you have to take in order for this to happen. Now, wanting to lose 20 lbs. is a good thing and that is okay to want. All I am suggesting is shifting focus and looking at it as, rather than something to achieve one time, seeing it as the result of achieving the smaller steps (goals) and placing more emphasis on those goals.

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