Monday 1 February 2016

Closing the Gap Between You and Your Goals

At the start of a new year, many people talk about goal setting. This is great because you always want to know where you are going before you start a journey. However, now that we are already a month into the New Year, it’s time to talk about an even more important topic – goal reaching. Between you and your goals is a gap. If the gap remains open, it will leave you frustrated, stressed and depressed. It may even cause you to quit training altogether. However, if you can close the gap, you can sculpt a strong, healthy, good looking body and savour the sweat pleasure of success. It’s time to close that gap and build the body you want.

When it comes closing the gap between you and your goals, there are 2 ways to do it – one it to adjust your behaviors and the other is to adjust your goal. Let’s look at both of these.

Option #1: Move Your Behaviors Closer to Your Goal
As a trainer, few things are more frustrating to me than a client who is not willing to line up his/her lifestyle with his/her goal. Here are some examples:
  • Wanting to get lean, but only training twice a week
  • Wanting to have a six back but unwilling to stop drinking six packs
  • Wanting to be strong, lean and muscular while eating a high-carb, low protein diet
  • Wanting to run faster or jump higher but not willing to work up to a 2x body weight deadlift
  • Wanting to get big and strong, but unwilling to do that scary leg work in the gym
  • Insisting on eating a diet that has major nutritional gaps and then refusing to supplement or make the necessary diet changes to fill these gaps
  • Wanting to make body composition changes, yet unwilling to keep a food log
  • Wanting major gains during a major busy time of life (e.g. athlete in-season, parent with your children, busy student, starting a new business, etc…)
  • Wanting to get in shape for the wedding, but waiting until 2 weeks before the wedding
  • Wanting to get stronger, but unwilling to keep a training log
  • Wanting to reach training goals, but unwilling to stay on a program long enough to actually make some progress
  • Wanting time to exercise, yet unwilling to reduce common time wasters (e.g. TV, internet surfing)
  • Wanting more sleep, yet unwilling to stop browsing Netflix for hours each night

If you want a body that performs well and looks like you eat really well and put in some quality time in the gym, well then, you need to consistently do the things that you would expect someone to do who looks and/or performs the way you want.

Important note:
These behavioral challenges should not happen overnight. Don’t try to instantly close the gap. Training well, eating well or sleeping well does nothing if it only happens occasionally. Instead look at taking baby steps that gradually, but consistently move your behaviors ever closer to your goal. Here are some examples of baby steps:
  • Add one extra 30 minute walk to your week on a non-gym day
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
  • Take a 20 minute power nap
  • Replace one common serving of a sugary drink (e.g. pop, juice, alcohol, specialty coffee) with a glass of water
  • Do 1 more rep for an exercise than you did last week
  • Do 5 more pounds than you lifted last time (you can go up in smaller amounts if you have micro plates)
  • Set up your office so you can stand instead of sit while you work on your computer
  • Foam roll one problem area before bed
  • Pick one mobility drill to do one extra time each day
  • Replace one snack regular daily snack with a Power Shake
  • Go to the store and buy a little notebook to use a training log and put it in your gym bag
  • Lie down on a foam roller and do deep breathing for 10 minutes a day
  • Get an app for your phone to use for food logging
  • Add one serving of vegetables to one meal
  • Have a shake before and/or after training

Option #2: Move Your Goal Close to Your Behavior
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to reach an unrealistic goal. Too often normal people pick the wrong people try to live up to. Here are some examples:
  • Genetic outliers (we used to call these people genetic freaks) who look great no matter what they do
  • People who use steroids when you use choose not to
  • People who make a living with their bodies (e.g. pro athletes, pro fitness models, movie stars)
  • Hollywood moms (who have the assistance of amazing genetics, trainers, chiefs, personal assistants and nannies)
  • People at a totally different stage of life (e.g. 18 year old living at home vs. a 40 year while a busy career and a family) 
  • Those who have all of the above and a talented Photoshop artist

Before you set something as you goal, make sure it is a reasonable, appropriate goal for you. If you had set an unreasonable goal, move it back to something more realistic. 

Your Goals Can Change
The biggest problem with training for a goal is that life is constantly getting in the way. Many people make the huge mistake of making every workout a life or death battle. They try train all-out all the time all 52 weeks of each year.

Instead, be realistic with what you can do with your training during different seasons of life. Don’t be afraid to change your goal to a simple maintenance one. It is way easier and less time consuming to maintain where you are at than it is to make progress towards a training goal. If you are in a crazy season of life right now, don’t be afraid to bring your goal back towards you. You can always move it back when things settle down. For example, if you normally train 4 days a week for an hour, don’t be afraid to back it down to 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes. Instead of trying to kill yourself, work hard and seek to make some steady strength gains. If you know how to prioritize and train efficiently, you will be just fine and you may even be surprised with your results. Then, when things are back to normal you can crank your training back up.


Bonus Option #3: Do options 1 and 2 at the same time
While option 1 and 2 both work, you may also find that doing both 1 and 2 at the same time is important. While you gradually and consistently change what you can, you may benefit from moving more unrealistic goals back to something more realistic. 

How about you? What success and failures have you had with closing your goal gap? I invite you to leave your questions and comments below or on my Facebook page.


  1. Yowza! This is one of the best articles I have ever read. You hit the nail on the head and wrote it in a way that people can apply it to themselves. No fluff, no stroking, just TRUTH.

    1. Thanks Mira, I appreciate your feedback and kind words.