Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goals in Pairs

My new year goal number one is coming into view. I'm 188 lbs (85.7 kg) with all my gym gear on. That's 3 lbs off my goal weight.

Pictured Above: GOAL!!!

I still find it hard to get to the gym every day for a workout, and as much as it's useful to tell people your goal to help you achieve it. I've found that two people making the same goal (or similar goals) is much easier. In this way you feel even more accountable then just to your inside voice.

I've talked about this before, but this goal technique has huge potential if you're looking to achieve something challenging (such as getting to the gym in the morning). For example, commitment with another person to improve your throwing results in someone who will make the same sacrifices to get out and throw every day. The same is true in the gym, on the field, or at the track.

Based on this concept, you would think that having three people committed is even better. This is, actually, a case of diminishing returns. Unless the activity your goal is related to needs three people, then you've passed critical mass. In this case, if you don't show up for the planned work, then you won't be missed so much, and you don't get the same feelings of "I have to get there so I don't let down Kirk".

This doesn't mean you shouldn't allow more people than critical mass, but it means you need to restructure the commitment aspect. If you want three people in the gym, then plan your workout and allocate some critical job for each person. For example, Kirk brings the skipping rope, Peter brings the disc, and Norm brings the stopwatch. All three of these things have to be at the workout or it will be a failure.

You've probably been hearing the viral information from Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours to expert motif. Those 10,000 hours can be much more enjoyably spent with another person.



ivar said...

What you describe (working towards goals by working with a partner/coach) is precisely the premise behind It's probably worth a look...