It is commonly believed in the pursuit of athletic and non-athletic endeavors that one’s mentality should be goal oriented. Within the pursuit of success, one seldom discusses such pursuits without attaching goals like a corollary. However, contrary to the usual understanding, goals could be a detriment to success when taken out of context.

Nature of Goals

Goals give us the goal for which our efforts are directed. They establish and maintain clear guide posts consider when faced with alternatives. From the broad decisions of daily life, social habits, eating routines, to more knowledge about training schedules, program design, and exercise selection; goals give us the standards to evaluate our choices. Further, the establishment of goals enhances our motivation and purpose to action by developing a standard by which our progress could be measured.

Understanding Context

In the proper context, goals are incredibly valuable and integral to success. However, the concept of a goal-directed mentality can, and commonly, is misapplied towards the detriment of the baby. Whenever we talk about a goal oriented mentality, the emphasis is on people who are primarily worried about goals. What’s not specified may be the kind of goals to worry with. Commonly people consider end-goals, for example making the Olympics, or the CrossFit Games, or just hitting a brand new snatch record.

From the outset this might seem okay, but there are several concerns that can arise. When you think of end-goals, you are identifying an effect, an effect, a consequence. In this context, the goal provides you with the aim, not the means to do it. Because of this, it is not enough to determine goals within this context, but to uncover the causes that make them easy to achieve. This is where the goal-directed mentality can be misapplied.

Cause and Effect

In order to succeed one must first define what’s to be achieved, then uncover the conditions necessary to achieve success. If an individual desires a certain effect, they have to define and enact the causes that make it possible. Because many people focus mainly on the end-goal’s (effect), they get off track around the causal factors that make them easy to achieve.

In my experience being an athlete and coach, mentality toward the training process is key to success. It is the foundation that future results are built upon. And yet, it’s also the region most are limited in, and least want to address. Most people, whether through experience or observation, will be in situations where technique and strategy venture out the window in the name of “progress”. Backs round, elbows bend, and bodies twist, all in the quest for our goals and ambitions. If you were to ask this type of person what they are worried about, they’d likely let you know, lifting a new record and becoming better.

In this type of case, you are able to clearly see the problem. In the individual’s pursuit to become successful, form was broken, safety was risked, and poor habits reinforced. Now, you can see how this person would perceive themselves as goal driven, his or her objective is to achieve new records (goal). Unfortunately, this generally doesn’t lead to a productive road to success.

Most times, it results in more failures; bringing stress, frustration, as well as an unhealthy relationship using the training process. Will there be times where such a person succeeds? Surely, nevertheless it will likely be in the cost of their long-term success. By concerning themselves with the end goal primary and almost completely, they forget the causes that make it possible, and for that reason don’t take the rational steps to prepare themselves properly.

Process Goals

Having goals is an integral part of the training process. If you need to achieve success, you must first know where you stand going. However for success to happen, we must identify and establish the correct steps that lead us there. Process-goals are the link that help us close that gap between your fantasy of an aspiration, and also the actions it takes to attain them.

Process-goals identify target objectives that establish causal factors in the attainment in our ultimate end goal. Put simply, they are the identified causes of success. For many people, they might believe they are working in this context to attain their goals. But in fact, many people simply do not accurately define or diligently act around the process goals that are responsible for what they really want. Sometimes it is a case of sheer ignorance of the subject, error of data, or just an unwillingness to endure the process.

For example, if a person’s goal is to lift as many pounds as you possibly can in the snatch, they must practice with technical proficiency. They ought to be sure to train rationally, resting when appropriate, and pushing at the appropriate interval. They must be economical with exercise selection and implementation. Their goal becomes enacting the causes and recognizing that such causes are not always related to testing one’s physical capacity. Actually, it may even be the restraint from such a desire. In doing so, the individual prepares themselves to achieve the greatest result, which will ultimately lead to the realization of their objective.


In the achievement of the goals, you need to comprehend the process. Goals provide you with direction; a beacon guiding your actions. But it isn’t as simple as reinforcing the intention, as numerous people do. It’s identifying what actions must be taken to achieve them. Too often it’s misapplied merely as the identification of an end indicate be reached.

When you begin to take goals a step further, and recognize the significance process goals have on success, then you will actualize your potential for growth and enjoyment within the training process.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video would be the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes happen to be sourced exclusively through the author.