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Goals Take You There

Folks without goals are aimless and lost.

You don’t take your bow to an empty field and randomly shoot arrows in the air, do you? You do! Well, so much for my brilliant analogy. Let me put it another way. When Tiger Woods steps onto the golf course and tees his ball, a specific goal consumes his mind, doesn’t it? He chooses his club, addresses the ball, concentrates deeply and swings with just the right amount of force and finesse to put the ball in the distant cup. Without the goal, he might just as well have used a baseball bat in place of a nine iron, a boccie ball in place of a golf ball, and beat the thing into the ground rather than seeking a hole in one or par for the course. He could have stayed home, practiced his swing or made another commercial; it doesn’t matter without the goal.

‘Tiger beats boccie ball into fairway with baseball bat at Pebble Beach. Fans go wild!’ What’s the world coming to? You’ve gotta have goals, bombers’big ones and small ones. That’s part of this month’s message. What are our goals?

Our goals are piled high like apple pie in the sky. Oh, my! (I studied under Dr. Seuss.) We train to get in shape and stay in shape, get healthy and stay healthy, lose fat and stay lean, get strong and stay strong. We exercise to improve our well-being and impress our peers, overcome disabilities and diminish limitations, increase vigor and gain confidence, develop discipline and sharpen character, be more decisive and less divisive. The act itself, seeking admirable goals, makes us better people. We lift for the challenge, wellness, goodness, fun, diversion and fulfillment.

Isn’t it remarkable? I’m not inventing this stuff, these are not my imaginings, and I’m not even exaggerating. I’m stating some seldom-considered facts. Each item listed is true and right on, whether it’s a predetermined goal or not. If they aren’t on your list of training goals, add them’free of charge. They belong there.

How about specific goals? You know’to win a contest, look slick at the beach, break a state powerlifting record, climb Mt. Fuji or scare your mother-in-law.

Goals become more understandable and real when they are envisioned and dwelt upon; they gain substance and structure and direction as they are imagined and examined. And when you discuss them in tangible terms with friends, they are no longer simple goals; they become commitments’they’re the real thing happening.

Your goals, objectives and purposes, when considered with honesty and passion, are truly inspiring. Furthermore, the greater the consideration and passion, the greater the motivation and reality of accomplishment.

Got muscle-building goals? (Please, don’t say no.) Make them work for you like the burly, handsome Clydesdale draft horses that pull brewery wagons stacked with kegs of beer across the countryside. They love to work and flex their muscles, strut and toss their heads.

In seeking my specific goal’getting in shape for a Broadway musical extravaganza by the month’s end’I shall do nothing different. I’ll let the goal sit in the driver’s seat and take control around the turns and up the slopes. I suspect training finesse and order and pace will increase as the target date approaches. My focus will subtly sharpen, and my mood will rise with the added pitch of adrenaline. The menu will be the same, though an unconscious tightening will be applied. There will be no misplaced workouts, no temptation to risk injury, no far-fetched powerlifting, no devastation’only sound, near-sane training. I might gargle and practice the scales’do, re, mi.

Tracking down a special objective’for a month, for a cause’I can do this. It’s fun and revealing and fortifying. It’s worthwhile. Goals are a must. Of course, if your goals are far-fetched, unreasonable or silly, they will be costly and painful obstacles to your progress. They will cause grief and disappointment; injury, lost confidence, confusion and apprehension. Those aren’t the teammates you want hanging around your corner of the playground. You must experience them, however, to know them; and then you must eliminate them before they become troublesome thugs. Beat it, ya bums. Above and beyond making goals, make smart goals, or, as they’re called in success books, realistic goals’big ones, or long-term goals, and small ones, or short-term goals. Zoom, zoom!

A final thought: Folks without goals are aimless and lost. Though they might possess character and strengths, the absence of a solid goal means their potentials go untapped, undeveloped and unrealized. They wander around looking and acting foolish. They waste time with trivial distractions, accomplish nothing, develop bad habits and eventually get in trouble. Without a purpose people contract laziness, an insidious sickness of the mind, body and will. They do the bare minimum to make it through the day and wonder why life is so unfair, dull and woeful. Apathy takes up residence in their flesh like an impoverished transient. Cynicism fills their voices.

Readers of IRON MAN: You have smart and solid goals of assorted shapes and sizes in various stages of completion. You’re constantly planning, applying, constructing, advancing, enjoying, overcoming, discovering and growing. Occasionally you lose some ground, take a step back, slip up or fall down. Good for you. You had me worried there for a second. ‘How will they learn to pick themselves up?’ I wondered. ‘When will they develop humility?’ Godspeed. IM

Web alert: For more from Dave Draper, visit and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.

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