Obliquity is, I think anyway, pretty tough to pronounce. At least at a glance when reading… < Obb – lick – witty >? That’s about right!
Straight line; direct, plan of action, clear objectives, Do A and B happens, good decisions happen because I know my goals etc…
All of the above, are generally, what goals are all about. With 2017 already here many a human and push-bike piloting human at that will be setting a fire under their arses, setting goals, making resolutions and….sticking to them! The only issue being that life, by which I mean our human interaction with the world at large, often dishes up tasty unknowns…meaning planning to change the plan based off of these unknowns is the only plan we should have!
Amplify and Dampen – rewritten as Grow and Shrink – these are the core “skills” in adaptive planning aimed at achieving your “end-results” or goals. With rigid plans based off of cause & effect thinking A always leads to B, you are often found late to the party when it comes to capitalizing on an emergent situation or dampening a not so desired outcome. So whether that’s making the most of good weather or adjusting your plan to make the most of training even with an injured leg, having you’re goals set “obliquely” means you can deal with all eventualities and be still far more likely to succeed come the “crunch”!
While some smart people thought adding the S.M.A.R.T approach to setting outcome type goals would help, and it does, the “all in” end goal approach still fails so many people that different way of doing things is needed!
Here’s an anecdote to help ease the pain of my ramblings…
Say you want to loose 5kg of fat; to help you climb faster, slow down quicker and shred the bike better; at the same time you want to get stronger!
Goals = Loose 5 kg by April; Add 15kg to Squat and 30kg to Deadlift by May. No that’s all pretty S.M.A.R.T. stuff, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time framed! So next step? Design the perfect strength training plan; higher a nutritionist once off and have them build you a “diet plan”! Job done…follow those two things for the next 3 months and you’l be set!? Lean, mean and keen?
Alas…who feckin’ knows….4 to 5 months away is a long way away! And all the while you’ll be focusing on those numbers, numbers, numbers! And what do those numbers mean…..not much, they are the by-product of success not the measure of it. The are extrinsic focus that will hammer down your intrinsic motivations…
So instead – add some obliquity….
Ok – How about? Become MUCH leaner than I am now; and get stronger in such a way that it shows up when I’m riding.
Instead of normal goals we go for some indirect changes…
- Eat protein at each meal
- Only snack on fruit or nuts
- Visible Reduce portion sizes except for after training meals
- Weigh yourself at regular intervals, but also track fat mass lost with pinch testing and take a body composition photo with each weigh in!
- Track/Record your training session. Likewise take pics of your meals to compare content and portions
- When you weigh in and measure fat mass – see how your habit and lifestyle changes and training practices are working….notice a trend? Amplify it!
For your Strength oblique-goals you could try;
- Strength train 3 times a week minimum for 5 weeks
- Include 3 compound lifts in each session
- Identify limiting factors to movement efficiency and quality
- Add 1.25 kg to all compound lifts weekly at a minimum
- Track weight lifted and how it felt (speed, effort, intent etc…)
- Track your fatigue during and after riding on demanding, steep or “wild” trails
- Is your current approach to getting storing leading to noticeable improvements on the bike?
The above are not conditional; they are how you will achieve what you want to achieve. They form behaviors that become habits that become success!
The reason you’ll see “track” or monitor in there so much is that as we strive for our goals we learn about them, learn about how useful that new “place”, new “you”, new “state” will actually be and learn about how our actions shape the speed and direction we are heading in and if that direction is the right one, wrong one or even a better one.
If great cathedrals were just built to pray in then they would not look like they do…if you focus only on the end goal; winning or loosing weight then you’ll miss every last opportunity to improve, to grow, to change, to amplify.
The pounds look after themselves only when we take care and cherish every wee penny.
Set small goals that allow you to build groundwork to large successes
Once larger objectives achieved – don’t stop
Embrace serendipitous discoveries in pursuit of our objectives
Realise that behavior, habit, mindset and emotional intelligence are what achieve big goals long term
Make changes both based on emergent situations and to initiate learning and discovery (will a low carbohydrate day a week work for me?)
Only by doing can you learn how things happened, planning only works as a description of what may happen
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big and setting outcome goals – they just need to be backed-up obliquely
Oblique goals allow you to tinker and learn on the path to success within an evolving but effective frame-work