Tuesday, January 2, 2024

My Goals for 2024

Here are some of the goals I've set for 2024. First is ...

Propose to my girlfriend.

Kidding. Here are my actual goals for the new year. Incidentally, nothing I do really matters. What matters to you is what's important. Most things worth accomplishing don't come easy. That's what makes the victory so amazing. Something in the human spirit sings when you go further than you thought was possible. That said, here are a few of my goals when it comes to weight training this year.

1. Never hit the gym without first having spent time with God. My goal is to do my daily Bible reading and prayer time before engaging in any form of physical exercise. I'm already doing this but I want to continue to do it consistently in the new year. This morning I was reading Mark 1. 

As I read, I take notes. Occasionally a note will end up as a blog post. Today, for example, I noticed  how Zebedee, the father of James and John, had "hired hands" or "employees" (1:20). This suggests that "Zebedee & Sons, Fishers, Inc." was not simply a local business operated on a shoestring. Mark seems keen to point out that the followers of Jesus included a number of well-to-do people, including the wealthy women of 15:41 who regularly accompanied Jesus and ministered to him. Apparently neither status nor wealth were unknown among Jesus' disciples even at this early stage of his ministry. Furthermore, if Richard Batey is correct, Joseph and his 5 sons may well have operated a fairly lucrative construction company in nearby Sepphoris, the capital of Herod Antipas. Herod, as we all know, loved to build, and what better place for builders to work? 

2. Here's goal #2. Focus on getting stronger over time. If my numbers in the gym are consistently going up, then I am going to consistently build muscle as well. This doesn't mean that you add weight to your lifts every time you go to the gym. But because progressive overload is the primary driver of hypertrophy, you will want to increase the weight every now and then. Today I added 20 pounds to my bench press, which I know doesn't sound like much, but it was the first time I had added any weight to a chest exercise in quite some time. 

3. Goal #3 is to use proper technique whenever I am lifting weights. We should always try to practice exercise movements that use full range of motion without swinging of the body and with slight pauses at the top and bottom of the rep. It's only natural to develop some bad habits through the years, which is one reason recording your workouts periodically is a great way for you to see how you're actually working out. Of course, no one is talking about perfection here. 

For example, slightly leaning back on the last rep of a biceps curl is fine. Twisting your back at a 45 degree angle is another story altogether. A perfect form is where you are slightly unstable because you're lifting heavy enough. 

4. My fourth goal in the gym is to pay careful attention to gym etiquette. There's nothing complicated about it. You just apply the Golden Rule and treat other people in the gym the way you'd like to be treated. The Y that I attend is absolutely fantastic in this regard. Apart from a very few people who don't rerack their weights, thoughtfulness is par for the course. I rarely hear "Have many sets do you have left?", but even when I do it's more like, "I'm not trying to rush you, just trying to gauge my workout plan." 

5. Fifthly and finally, my lifting goals for 2024 include consuming enough protein each day to support muscle recovery and growth. For most people, all you need is 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. Optimally, you should spread this out into two or three protein meals as part of your daily muscle building plan. I work out three times a week and usually eat right afterwards, as I did today. 

The main idea I'd like to leave with you today is this. Have your own goals when you work out. Stop worrying about what other people are doing at the gym. My advice is to sit down and decide what you actually want out of your training -- what goals excite you, what type of exercises will benefit you the most, what time of day is best for you to work out at the gym, etc. If you're training on a regular basis and taking care of your overall health and fitness, that's all that really matters at the end of the day. The type of physique you're striving for is your choice.

As we step into the new year, what dreams are stirring within you? What goals are beckoning you forward? Let goal-setting be the catalyst for a year filled with growth, achievement, and great joy.