2 months ago when I sat down and started writing my goals down for the 50 day challenge, I realized how far I have come over the last year. Just over a year ago, when I first committed myself to this whole paleo diet thing, I cared mostly about how I looked. I wanted to lose weight, build muscle, and be ripped! I wanted to have a six-pack!
Looking at my goals for this year’s challenge though, not a single one had to do with how I looked. Sure, I could have made myself crazy by obsessing over the 5 lbs of fat that I preferred to be without, but losing that extra weight wasn’t motivating to me. I was happy with the way I looked, and I knew that setting my sights on losing a couple worthless lbs wasn’t going to get me out of bed in the morning.
So I completely ignored vanity goals for the entire 50 days. I didn’t even weigh myself or take pictures on Day 1, because I knew my heart and my motivation were in a completely different place.
The goals that I ended up listing were things I never would have wrote down a year ago.
They were things that I just thought would be cool to do. Milestones that I deemed SUPERHUMAN.
Here are my goals for the 50-day challenge, as well as their corresponding result…
Goal #1 – Complete CrossFit workout “King Kong”.
King Kong is 3 Rounds of a 455 lb Deadlift, 2 Muscle Ups, 3 Squat Cleans @ 250 lbs, and 4 Handstand Push Ups. This was one of my goals several months before the challenge even began. It felt so good to finally accomplish it.
Goal #2 – Clean 300 lbs for a 1 rep max.
This was a 25 lb increase over my previous best!
Goal #3 – Perform 40 consecutive butterfly pull ups.
While my kipping pullups improved over the 50 days, I still need to devote more time to mastering the technique for butterfly pull ups.
Goal #4 – Snatch 200 lbs for a 1 rep max.
I was actually able to snatch 205 lbs in the video below. This was a 10 lb increase over my previous best from 2 weeks earlier. The most I had ever done before the challenge was 175.
Goal #5 – Complete 50 consecutive, unassisted pistols (1-legged squats).
I couldn’t do a single unassisted pistol before the challenge and now I can do close to 20 good ones. My inability to do pistols has a lot more to do with my mobility then it does my strength, so I am happy with the progress I have made so far.
The Value of Performance-Based Goals
As I alluded to earlier in the post, all 5 of the goals that I set for myself were performance-based goals.
Coming into this challenge, I knew that having performance-based goals were valuable, but the last 50 days really drove it home for me.
I’ve never been a big fan of lb related goals. That is why I encourage photos over scales. I’m not saying that losing weight is a bad goal to have (and being specific about your weight loss is better than just saying you want to be skinnier), but what happens when you lose those 30 lbs?
Will you continue to be motivated to maintain your weight loss? I highly doubt it. Maintenance is boring. It doesn’t get people excited to go to the gym or eat healthy, which is why so many people rebound to more weight gain even after they have lost those initial 30 lbs.
This is where performance-related goals come in handy though. With performance goals, you never have to worry about maintenance because there’s always a new challenge to go after.
4 Reasons Why You Need Performance Related Goals
1. Performance goals can always be increased.
Today you got your first pull up? Awesome! Let’s celebrate and then next week we will start working towards 10 consecutive pull ups! During the challenge, I may have hit my goals for a 300 lb clean and a 200 lb snatch, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop there. Im already looking toward 310 lbs and 215 lbs for each lift respectively.
2. There are an endless amount of performance goals that you can go after.
Already dominating pull ups, muscle ups, and walking on your hands? Set a goal to finish a marathon or master yoga or learn parkour. Performance goals allow for an infinite amount of challenges for you to go after! Think of your goals less as a to-do list, and more of a guide to becoming awesome!
3. Performance goals free you from the burden of worrying about weight loss.
Yes, worrying about weight loss is a burden. It’s too easy to become obsessive over what the scale says. You end up scrutinizing every morsel of food that enters your mouth, and start looking at every step that you take as a form of exercise. That’s no way to live. Allow your performance goals to become your focus and your healthy lifestyle will be a lot more fun and rewarding to you.
4. Its hard not to improve how you look when performance goals improve.
It’s funny how once you stop worrying about how you look, you actually end up looking a lot better. Maybe it’s the added confidence shining through from not being so self-conscious all the time. Maybe it’s the fact that in order to do more push ups and pull ups, you have to add muscle and lose fat, therefore improving how you look. It’s one of the reasons why athletes of all types, from swimmers, to basketball players, to football players, all look pretty damn good, even though they care more about their performance on the field than how they look in the mirror. (For proof of this, check out ESPN’s newest The Body Issue.)
Just because the 50-day challenge came to an end, doesn’t mean you should stop living a superhuman life. Write down some goals for yourself and make sure at least a few of them are performance-based. Feel free to share your favorite goals in the comments below. Were happy to keep you accountable for achieving them!