5 Tips to Help Set Goals, Acquire Accountability, and Get the Most Out of 2021

Believe it or not, 2020 is almost behind us.

And regardless of whether you’re a “glass is half-empty” or a “glass is half-full” kind of person, I think we can all say we expect a little bit more out of 2021!

So I’m here today to walk you through 5 tips I think can make a profound impact on your performance, mindset and resiliency come the New Year.

Interested?

Great…let’s dive in!

#1 – Set Goals

I know this may seem simple or mundane, but it’s time for a reality check:

First and foremost, do you set goals every year?

And even if you did set goals last year, did you even look at them after about March?

If you did, that’s awesome – great job!

And if you didn’t?

Well no worries my friend…you’re human, just like the rest of us.

But with 2021 right around the corner, the fact of the matter is it’s time to get back to basics, and that means setting goals for yourself.

Typically when I set goals I create them across a few domains:

  • Physical goals. This could focus on your workouts and training, but could also expand out to areas like nutrition, recovery and mindset as well. (Side note: If you need help across and/all of these domains, definitely check out my 2021 RTS Annual Program).
  • Family and Relationship goals. This could focus on your family/spouse/significant other, as well as other relationships that are important to you.
  • Career and Professional goals. This is where I outline my goals for both RTS and IFAST, but also my continuing education for the coming year. I’m a big believer that working on your business is critical for the short-term, but also educating yourself over your career sets up those long-term gains as well.
  • Financial goals.  Last but not least, if you’re an adult you need some financial goals. Here’s where I review spending, create a budget, and see if I’m on track to retire at 45. (Spoiler alert: I’m not.)

And then to really take my goal-setting to the next level, I like to create both outcome and process-based goals.

Outcome-based goals are goals that have a specific, tangible outcome. In the physical space it might look like this:

  • “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
  • “I want to squat 200 kilos.”
  • “I want to add 10 pounds of muscle.”

Outcome-based goals are great because they’re specific and objective, and ultimately we know if we’ve actually achieved them or not.

However, there are times where you do a lot of good things and still don’t see the results you want.

So what then?

This is where I like the use of process-based goals as well.

Process-based goals are just like they sound: they focus on the process necessary to see success, and don’t just focus on the outcome or end-result.

So let’s take our weight-loss goal above and put it into a process-based format:

  • “I will strength train 3x/week for 60-minutes.”
  • “I will do additional cardio 1-2x/week for 30-60 minutes.”
  • “I will dial in my nutrition and eat according to my preset routine 90% of the time.”

This way if you achieve your weight-loss goal of 20 pounds, that’s great!

But if you didn’t, you can reflect on your process-oriented goals.

  • Did you comply with them? If yes, great work! But maybe they weren’t challenging enough – or you focused on the wrong metrics.
  • And if you didn’t follow then? Well then you need to get back on that horse to see if they actually work!

So even if it sounds simple, the first thing you have to do is set some goals for yourself in 2021.

Actionable Item: Carve out a half- or full-day in the coming 3-4 weeks to lock in and focus on what’s most important to you, and then create outcome- and process-based goals to help you achieve them!

#2 – Acquire Accountability

Want to know what IS NOT the limiting factor in your getting results these days?

Information.

Here’s an example: If I wanted to learn about getting ridiculously strong back in 2000 (when I first got really serious lifting weights), lack of information could’ve been an issue.

The most widely available magazines at the time were focused on bodybuilding vs. getting stronger.

If I wanted to read research, I had to have access to a serious library (and actually be able to find stuff in journals).

And the Internet wasn’t really going full-tilt just yet, either.

Now contrast that with today and the amount of information we have at our fingertips.

I could literally go on the Google machine, type in “strength training workouts” and get over 1 BILLION hits.

So hopefully you get what I’m throwing down here:

If you’re not seeing results, it’s probably not due to lack of information. Instead, it’s far more likely you don’t have the accountability in place to make sure you get the right things done!

If you’ve ever wondered why everyone and their brother has a “Coaching” program these days, this is why.

Most people have the information they need, and they the have the tools to get the job done.

But what they really need is someone they like, trust and respect to hold their feet to the fire and make sure stuff gets done!

Actionable Item: Be honest with yourself and what you want to achieve. If you have set realistic goals – now or in the past – and failed to achieve them because you can’t focus, get lost, or simply don’t know where to get started, it’s time to consider hiring a coach.

#3 – Get Back on the Horse

It’s been a few years now, but I still remember an old Dwayne Wade commercial:

“Get knocked down seven times, as long as you get up eight.”

If you set your goals high enough, you’re going to fail.

If you push your limits far enough, you’re going to fail.

And if you’re ever willing to get outside of your comfort zone, you’re going to fail.

And you know? That’s a-ok.

I struggled with this for far too long.

I thought if I wasn’t perfect, whether that was in my squat technique, shooting a basketball, or in my academics that I was a failure.

(It’s probably no wonder I finally fizzled out in baseball…any sport where you can fail 70% of the time and be deemed a success just didn’t make sense to me!)

Yet our views on failure and learning over the past 20-30 years have grown immeasurably.

Now we know that failure is one of the most sure-fire ways to truly learn.

And luckily, it’s now something I instill in my children everyday.

That it’s okay to fail.

It’s okay to make mistakes.

As long as you learn something from them.

Actionable Item: You’re going to fail and make mistakes a long the way. Know and understand that. And then gently remind yourself that this is part of the game, and you need to keep moving forward.

#4 – Learn to Be Patient

The flashbacks are definitely fewer and farther between now, but I do remember back to when I was a young gent.

And needless to say, patience was not my superpower!

But over the years – plus two kids, a dog and a cat later – I’ve found that while patience still isn’t a superpower, it’s definitely not a limiting factor, either.

The longer I do this, the more I realize you need to find a blend of pushing the pace in the day-to-day grind, while also understanding that you’re playing the long game here.

For instance, you’re not going to be an amazing trainer or coach overnight just because you read an article, watched a video, or attended a course today.

However, I can also tell you if you don’t read that article, watch that video, or attend that course, you’re not going to be an amazing trainer today either!

This is where the concept of The Slight Edge comes into play.

It’s not the success you see in one day that matters.

Instead, it’s that focus on those small wins, racked up repeatedly over time, that lead to demonstrable change.

So don’t expect to see change, progress, or whatever you want to call it as soon as you do something.

That’s just our societies need for immediate gratification pulling the wool over your eyes.

Instead, think about how the little things you do today will get you started on a long-term path to success going forward.

Actionable Item: Work to find a mindset that blends working hard in the day-to-day, but that also realizes true, long-term success comes from little wins stacked up over extended periods of time.

#5 – Enjoy the Journey

This final point actually blends seamlessly with my previous one.

And to drive it home, let me tell you about a goal I set for myself way back at the end of 2016….

NBA skills trainer Joey Burton and myself had just started working together, and it really rekindled my love of being around basketball players.

I knew I wanted to get serious about training basketball players full-time, so I set the following goal for myself:

To develop an NBA-level coaching program where I had five guys in the league.

And as I think back to that time, we started off really small – I think had five basketball players total in that first off-season.

And trust me when I say it definitely WAS NOT just NBA guys!

But over the next 4 years, I told Joey I would train anybody and everybody he was working with.

And you know what was really cool?

Watching the development of our program year-in and year-out.

In 2018 I bet we worked with close to 50 high-level basketball guys in one summer out of a basketball barn.

In 2019 that number dwindled as we put less of an emphasis on pre-draft players and focused more on guys who, as Joey and I like to say, “were on a path to success.”

And this year, even with COVID, gym lockdowns, and having athletes consistently in-and-out of their season, I finally accomplished that goal of training five NBA players in one off-season.

But as I sat back and reflected on this the other day, you know what I realized?

Yes it’s cool to say I trained five guys in the NBA…but what’s even cooler is to think about how much fun I had, the amazing relationships I built, how much I learned, and how much I grew as a human being and coach over the past 4-5 years.

So that’s what it means to enjoy the journey.

Sometimes you hit those objective goals, and sometimes you don’t.

But at the end of the day if the goal is pure in nature and something you’re truly passionate about, it’s not just achieving the goal that’s important…

…it’s the person you become in the process that really matters.

Summary

So there you have it…five tips to help make sure you see more success in 2021 than you did in 2020.

Regardless of where you’re at in life, I hope you can take at least one – if not all five! – and apply them to make next year your best year EVER!

All the best,
MR

BTW – if you need help with ANY of the above items (goal setting, accountability, etc.) be sure to check out my RTS Annual Training Program. I think it could be an absolute game changer for you in 2021!

(This article has been adapted from a series of tips in upcoming podcasts.)

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