Goal Setting Mindset

Reflect On The Past To Prepare The Future

Written by shapeshifter

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

Ahh, sweet nostalgia…

New Year’s is a time of reflection, when we weigh up the hits and misses of the past year and put that year to rest. It’s also a time of optimism, when we set our goals and focus our will on the 12 months to come.

That summary is more than just an interesting exercise. It’s a key tool for your success.

Why? Successful people conduct regular “performance reviews.” They assess themselves with brutal honesty, shining a harsh light on their failures without becoming too emotionally attached to them. It’s enough to note how and why you went wrong so that you can learn from the experience and move forward.

Successful people also take note of goals met. And that can be just as important as recognizing past failures. Success motivates further success, it’s true. But we also forget just how far we’ve come and how much ground we’ve covered. It’s good to pause every once in a while to look back. Clearly recognizing what you’ve done right allows you to reinforce what’s working so you can redouble your efforts.

On that note, we’d like to share our process with you in the hope that you’ll share your past year and future goals with us here. Putting it out there in print makes you more accountable, and you’ll be more likely to follow through with your 2011 goals.

I’ll start, and then Adam will jump in with his score sheet.

So yeah, 2010. I experienced a couple disheartening challenges on the work and personal front, but all in all 2010 was my best year in a long time. On the training side, I spent the summer and part of the fall experimenting with a bunch of new programs by some of our colleagues, including high rep and core work by Dr. K, and my first real diet courtesy of Joel Marion. In some ways it was a trip down memory lane. I revisited dumbbell and barbell work, stability ball training, and other modalities I hadn’t used in years —but with a cutting edge twist. I had a blast, and the results were fantastic.

On the work front, Adam and I released several successful collaborations, and we flew all over North America to meet with colleagues in the online fitness industry, making some really great friends in the process. We officially incorporated our company, expanded our Inside Access membership group, completely redesigned our blog and really kicked our free content into high gear. We also ran the first Beta test for an exciting new project we’re releasing next year. There were some gutting challenges of course, including a disappointing launch, fraught with technical disasters, for TACFIT Commando 2.0, but all in all it was a pretty incredible year of growth. And it was a welcome respite from my past decade of starving artist poverty, I can tell ya!

At the same time, Adam and I continued to let our workaholic tendencies get the best of us. I barely remember the summer of 2010. We didn’t take any downtime at all, and I didn’t do any major travel writing assignments, choosing instead to focus on building our business. It was a conscious choice, but I know it isn’t a sustainable one. Striking a realistic balance between work and downtime will be an important goal for 2011.

On the personal front, I got married in the spring and finally took a honeymoon over Christmas (the first time my wife and I have gone away together for a real vacation since 1998). My cat Dashiell got really sick this past summer, but 6 months of antibiotics and several months of tube feeding her 5x per day saw her through, and I’m happy to report she’s tearing all over the house again and waking me up too early.

And what of 2011? On the fitness front, once Adam and I get our new product filmed I’m planning to spend a couple months in a gym so I can revisit a cycle of heavy strength training. It’s been years since I’ve done it and I’m looking forward to mixing things up and breaking new ground. I think it’s important to revisit other training modalities from time to time because doing so can reveal holes in your game, and it’s often the spark for new directions in creativity.

On the work front, Adam and I are releasing a huge new flagship product in 2011 that we believe will totally raise the bar in terms of quality and content. We’ve also got some ridiculously fun stuff planned for the launch. We think you’re gonna love it and we can’t wait to start filming.

On the personal front, I think my biggest goal for 2011 is to finally strike a realistic, sustainable balance between work and recovery. To actually take some downtime, to travel and write more, and to pause to enjoy some of what we’re building. It’s something I’m admittedly terrible at. I have several travel goals I’d like to accomplish this year, and I’d also like to start training for a private pilot’s license, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. So yeah, here’s to a great 2011. I think it’s gonna be fun.

Adam here… When I coached ski racing, I gave my athletes a simple piece of advice. Everyone makes mistakes, even the fastest racer down the hill. The difference between the winner and everyone else lies in two things…

The winner has never been afraid to make mistakes, but has learned from every single one of them. The losers are scared of mistakes and try to forget them as soon as they’re made.

The winner recovers from mistakes more quickly and then focuses on the rest of the race. The losers dwell on their mistakes all the way down the mountain.

What’s true in sport is often true in life. If we don’t take stock of where we’ve been, our mistakes and our successes, how can we improve our future? For me, 2010 is a particularly interesting year to examine.

Ryan outlined the ups and downs of a very exciting year from a business perspective. But that’s only one slice of the pie of life. Here are some of the other highlights. I like to break these examinations into “sectors” that allow me to drill down and pinpoint the most important elements. This year I looked at family, faith, education, hobbies, business and fitness.

One of my goals over the past year was to pack on some new muscle mass, and that came together quite well. In the final analysis, I’ll have packed on a very realistic 6-7 pounds of muscle. Doesn’t sound impressive? Ever see an 8 oz cut of lean steak? That’s one pound of muscle!

I also wanted to spend some time in the single digit body fat percentage. That’s no small feat for me, as I have a genetic talent for fat gain (and a world-renowned sweet tooth). But I managed to stay under 10% for about a month and a half in late summer. I could have done better, but I’m still prone to those darn sugar binges (especially this past week with all my wife’s Christmas baking around!).

On the family front, I have to admit that I let work get in the way of my goals. I didn’t spend nearly as much time with them as I wanted, and we didn’t manage to follow through on plans to go on a family vacation. However, we continued to thrive on strong daily traditions like meals together, praying the Rosary together, celebrating Saint’s days and more. This is the daily glue that binds our family together.

That brings me to my Faith. I could do so much better. But I get caught up in the daily grind and I often forget to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Although the traditions and the rituals of the Church kept me on track, I wanted to make prayer, reflection and especially charity a much bigger part of my life.

On a lighter note, I did a dismal job of pursuing my hobbies (or perhaps I should say my prospective hobbies). I wanted to take up the guitar, start practicing Taiji and learn more about wine and cooking. I did take a wine course, and loved it. I continue to experiment with lots of cool recipes (especially trying to adapt them to healthier ingredients). But I completely dropped the ball on both Taiji and guitar.

And finally, education. My longstanding goal is to do some sort of formal seminar or certification course every year. I usually end up doing more like 2 or 3. But this past year I didn’t manage it at all. However, I’m still very happy with what I DID do. I kept to my habit of reading 2-3 educational books per month. I also sought out and collaborated with some of the finest minds in the fitness business to come up with new ideas and inspiration.

So that’s what happened last year. But the most exciting part of this exercise is to project what’s going to happen in 2011. Here goes!

I’ll be spending one in every four weeks working like a madman on a mission so that I can spend the other three paying attention to my family, recharging my creative batteries and pursuing further professional development and education.

I want to maintain my new muscle mass while spending at least 25% of the year in single digit body fat levels. And I won’t exceed 12% over the course of the year. I’m also going to hire a coach who uses inventive and cutting edge techniques so that I can push myself into new areas of performance and understanding.

I’ll continue my habit of reading 2-3 educational books per month. But this year I’ll also attend 3 new certification courses. There’s an excellent yoga cert that I’d like to add to my repertoire, as well as a strength and conditioning course offered by Charles Poliquin. I’m also working on completing my Precision Nutrition certification. I may even renew my Biosignature certification this year.

My family deserves at least two trips away this year. They don’t have to be extravagant affairs, but an occasion to be away from normal life so we can fully focus on one another. I’m also going to find a way to make the “switch” from work to family time so that I’m not bringing my preoccupations to the table with me when I should be living 100% in the moment with them.

The rich traditions of the Church will continue to provide the foundation of my spiritual life in 2011. But I’ll make more time and be more mindful of opportunities for daily prayer.

I’ve scoped out a place that offers what looks like very authentic Chen Taiji. We have a slew of business travel on the calendar until early February, but I’ll enroll in Taiji classes as soon as I’m back. I’ve also found an excellent online course for guitar, which I’ll also start in mid-February.

Ryan covered most of the business stuff. Needless to say, we’re both wildly excited about the year to come.

So there you have it. Our personal wrap ups of the past year and our goals for the year to come.

How did you do in 2010? Whatcha got planned for 2011? Please share it with us in the comments below.

About the author



  • Hey guys,

    Great topic and really interesting reading your achievements and your goals – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Here goes…
    2010 was the year that I started out on a heap of my long-term goals.

    Health-wise: I started off doing a couple of Club FYM Challenges, and moved onto using Bodyweight Coach to lose weight and start myself getting fit. I have managed to move from 31% body fat down to 21%, and have lost 15KG (33 lbs) in the process. I also achieved a personal goal of being able to complete a full push up. I can now do 3 in a row and am looking to build on that. My fitness goals for 2011 are to:
    – be able to complete 20 full push ups
    – be able to run 5kms in 25mins
    – to get down to 18% body fat
    – to achieve my Venus Index number
    – I’m planning to finish Bodyweight Blueprint for Fat Loss, and complete a couple more of the programs including Hades, Dirty 30s and Scorpion 75.

    Study: In 2010 I also started a Diploma in Architectural Technology (CAD drawing). I finished the first year (one Unit) with marks at High Distinction. This year I plan to achieve HD for the next year of my course and fast-track to complete two full Units.

    Kids: I have a busy life with 3 daughters, 5, 3 and 15 months. In 2010 I successfully ran a Playgroup on Tuesdays and was Treasurer for the committee. I plan to start a formal P & C committee for my eldest daughter’s primary school, and will move from being Secretary to President of my middle daughter’s preschool committee. I am hoping that these experiences will give me more interpersonal and management skills, as well as give me insight and input into improving the quality of the education environment for my kids.

    A big milestone for us as a family was to embrace mine and my husband’s love of camping (and get over my fear of taking the kids) and just go camping… we did so in the second week of December. It was so good, that we plan to do it more often creating some great family moments and memories 🙂

    Time Management: In 2010, I became slightly more organised, got spring-cleaning done and cleared out a lot of clutter. A big goal of mine in 2011 is to master time management. I am working on a big folder/personal planner that I can open and know what I’m doing at a glance regarding study, exercise, nutrition, kid’s activities and family life!

    Singing: In 2010 I was singing in a barbershop chorus – our Chorus won the national finals and went to Seattle (which I missed!). I left the chorus before they went to Seattle since I was so time-poor, but I still love to sing. I have been invited by a friend to join ChorusOz 2011 and sing at the Sydney Opera House. This is something I would love to do (learning a tricky piece of Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”) so I’ll register and see how it goes!

    Now to find the time to fit all of this in!! Wish me luck… and all the best to everyone for their goal achieving this year – it’s your year to shine!

    • I forgot to add that I would love to enter the annual Sydney City to Surf (a 14km run for charity) this year… a goal I’ve wanted to achieve for years, but just haven’t got around to for various reasons! I think I’d raise funds for the Children’s Hospital.

      • You did really great in 2010 Deb! And well done on the pushups – great to see you nail that 🙂

        Good on ya for the camping. That sorta adventure is the coolest thing when you’re a kid. Some of my best memories are of an annual fishing trip with my Dad.

        Sing at the Sydney Opera House? Pretty impressive! Jeez, you’ll be right up there with my friend Steve!

      • Thanks Adam :).

        I like having the accountability even if it is to folks in cyberspace. 🙂 Also writing these goals down and reading them everyday makes the idea of the goals more concrete and makes me push harder to be able to reach them.

        I’m keen to see what other people are planning too. I find it inspirational reading about other people’s achievements and how they got there, and their goals and how they plan to achieve them.

        Please share everyone 🙂

  • Hey Adam and Ryan-
    Always interested to hear what the two of you are up to! I have all of your programs now, and while I don’t actually ever follow any of the protocols, I do glean excellent technique and some nice, new exercises for my ever eager clients. It was a good 2010 from an exercise perspective; clientele up, thank G-d no injuries and creativity at peaking. In ’11 I’m going to try my hardest to persuade Shane Heins to do a Clubbell Cert in Canada so I can drag my husband with me from Florida for a mini vacation/certification 🙂 There is growth, beauty, spirituality and love to be found in every day; find it, embrace and live it! Every new beginning comes from some beginning’s end…2011 is a new beginning for all of us–good luck with all your goals, guys!

    • So let me get this straight…. People from Florida vacation in Canada?!?!? Haven’t you got that backwards?? ;P

      “Every new beginning comes from some beginning’s end…” Yeah, Semisonic said that best.

      • People from Florida vacation EVERYWHERE in the summer! Especially if they can get a certain CST coach to certify them at the same time…

  • If you’re starting from scratch with “time management,” I recommend Eben Pagan’s Wake Up Productive:


    Power of Full Engagement is excellent:

    Strategic Coach has a system of managing your time/energy based on entertainment performers and competitive athletes:

  • Hey Adam,

    Would you be willing to share which place it is that appears to offer authentic Chen Taiji?

    Many Thanks.

    • Can’t remember the name of the place, but I do have the phone number on my white board… 🙂 It’s in Quebec City. 418-688-4088. I think it might be Institut Yves Laprise.

  • Well, in 2010, after three long years of training and a brutal 2-hour test, I got my black belt in taekwondo. My goal for 2011 is to keep training and to get my body fat down to the mid teens. I also set a goal to bench 150 this year. BTW, I am a 55-year old grandma. Four years ago I was 83 pounds heavier and diagnosed as diabetic. Weight Watchers and a gym membership and taekwondo changed all that, and now my husband and I work out three times a week. Our youngest granddaughter is now going to the gym with us. I love the information I get from you guys, especially the compound exercises and the workout routines. I particularly want to avoid getting bored with my workouts, and I appreciate the variety. Thanks so much for your no-nonsense site!

    • Good on ya Margie! You are such inspiration to me as I also aspire to get my black belt in Karate. Keep up the great work!

  • Hello gents,

    Great idea to incite people to take action and share their goals for 2011. Here’s my input: (brace yourselves, this is really long but it’s a great exercise and thanks for encouraging us to do so).

    Revisiting 2010

    a. sales goal: reach 22% of set goal but we got GREAT profits
    b. number of projects: 1 more than set goal
    c. be representative of 2 companies outside Mexico – completed + 1 company
    d. hire staff – not completed

    I can honestly say that I lost track of my business goals in 2010 and that’s one of the main reasons I didn’t accomplish them.

    a. get out of debt – no even close. Didn’t change my habits and therefore, debt is still there
    b. buy a new apartment – nope, money went into paying interests
    c. buy new car – nope

    a. to re-kindle my relationship with my wife – oh yes and in so many different ways. We both focused on finding ourselves again and to an extent, that goal took precedent over everything else. Without having a good base at home, I can’t even hope to succeed in business or anything else.

    a. I tried all year to lose some weight but I didn’t prioritize it until you guys came out with the 1000 bodyweight calorie challenge. I bought a bodyfat scale, a yoga mat, and got to work. I lose 15 lbs from november to christmas. I gained 3 pounds during the holidays. So, although this wasn’t a goal I had set in the beginning of 2010, it gave me momentum for 2011.

    Goals for 2011

    My main focus for 2011 is to STAY focused. I procrastinate and get distracted too easily, the main reason why I didn’t reach my goals in 2011. In order to counter that, I have a goals notebook I take everywhere with me now, I also set a calendar reminder to review all goals every 1 of the month so I don’t lose track of what I want to achieve.

    a. We set a new sales goal for 2011 (confidential) with a minimum % of profits.
    b. Minimum of 6 projects sold and completed for 2011.
    c. Hire 2 new sales agents/reps.
    d. To register in different business directories that can potentially send us sales opportunities via the internet.
    e. Start stocking equipment from the different companies we became reps of.
    f. We also set a goal to look for capital/loans/grants for SME.
    g. We also set some technical goals in terms of developing new technologies and processes (again confidential).
    h. We set a goal to revamp our marketing both printed and online (English, French and Spanish website to be complete in mid February… http://www.akvotek.com for those who are interested). Part of that revamp is to re-work our focus and sales strategy.
    i. buy tools and equipment we need to do projects quicker and faster
    j. find a team of installers so they can do the manual work while I focus on sales
    k. I also set a personal business goal to read 3 technical books this year and to learn and “master” one new technology that I can implement in my projects. One of the three books has to be about that new technology.
    l. find a business coach: Since I am the owner of my company, I have nobody to really “whip me” or keep me accountable, so another goal of mine is to find a business coach who will be able to help reach new heights and keep me honest. (Already found someone and emailed them, just waiting for their answer.)

    Online Fitness Business:
    As you two already know, I am working with Flexsolate, creator of the gym-in-a-bag.
    a. My goal this year for this venture is to create 2 online workout program.
    b. Set goal in terms of how many bags I’d like to sell per month
    c. Prepare and execute online marketing plan
    d. Find 2 new JV partners willing to integrate the product in their system.

    Virtual Assistant Business:
    a. Increase the number of clients by 3 (if you are interested or know anyone who would be, please let me know).

    a. clear debt within the first 6 months of this year
    b. put deposit on a house
    c. buy a new car Chevy 2011 (really cool)
    d. set monthly salary goal

    a. we want a baby this year – YEY! – (or at least get pregnant) – quite exciting about this one.
    b. To visit my extended family in Montreal at least once this year
    c. we also plan to go to Europe (not sure where yet) and personally, I’d like to be able to pay it myself.
    d. Somebody also robbed my wife’s engagement ring (we suspect a worker who was doing some work for us at home) so I’d like to replace it this year, preferably for her birthday in May.
    e. To re-visit my personal development books, podcasts and audiobooks on self-motivation, sales, etc. in order to keep the flame alive and replace procrastination and laziness which focused and driven ACTION. This is one way for me to be a “self-coach” and keep me driven.

    a. My ultimate goal is to be at 10% bodyfat and add 5 lbs of lean muscle on my frame. I already started the clubbell mass evolution program but I only have mini clubbells and although it’s an amazing workout and I got really sore, I don’t feel the sweat I’d like to feel.
    b. To get real clubbells as soon as the finances allow me to do so.
    c. get rid of all nagging chronic pains in shoulder, wrist and back
    d. increase upper body strength
    e. start karate again and get my next belt up to black and beyond
    f. start training in parkour (I adopted their motto: to be strong to be useful)
    g. to learn how to properly run and run to increase endurance

    These are my main goals for 2011. Like I said before, I set a timer for each 1st of the month to review these main goals. Part of this review would be to set mini goals each month and prepare a plan to achieve each of these mini goals. Then, the next month, I will review how I did on each mini goals, review and adjust. This will help me fight procrastination and laziness and it will also help me stay focused, driven and motivated.

  • Hey Adam – for me it’s fitness and business goals for 2011. I’m usually not a resolutioner but have given it a shot the last few years. Actually, I love the proverbial “clean slate” and now rarely wait until a new year to wipe the slate clean. A new month, week, and even day can be a great clean slate.

    For more of a personal resolution, my best friend’s 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia this Thanksgiving and will need a bone marrow transplant in February. The whole family, including Hannah, has taken it like a champ. And even though they are scared to death, they are being as positive as possible and enjoying life.

    hat kind of stuff really puts things in perspective for me. 1. I need to keep perspective on some of the things in my life that I get upset about. 2. No mountain is worth a bad attitude. 3. Love on your friends and family all the time because….you just never know.


    • Hi Susan,
      Thank you for sharing that! I wish you and your family (especially Hannah) incredible good fortune in 2011. My prayers will be with her.

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