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Poll: What Are Your Goals?


Goals, and achieving goals, have been on my mind a lot lately.  In the last seven days I’ve knocked off a few big ones that I’m thrilled about. 

  • Deadlifted 435 (a big jump from 385 last time I checked)
  • Bent the Yellow Nail from Ironmind
  • The book proposal is so close to being finished that I’m going to include it.  My part of it is done.
  • Did a Turkish Get Up With 88 lbs
  • Cleaned up my eating
  • Built a slosh pipe
  • Read The Way Of The Superior Man

Some of these are big goals, some are small.  All were satisfying in different ways.  The way forward is always fun.  Moving onward is always rewarding.  But my favorite goals are the ones that take months and months to reach.  When I pulled that deadlift yesterday, I screamed my head off I was so happy.  This is something that 99.99999% of the people in the world are not interested in and don’t care about in the slightest.  That’s fine.

But it made my day and made me happy (and nearly made me faint) and that’s all the reason and reward I need.  Forget the validation of others.  Praise is nice and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it if you don’t turn into a diva.  But set goals and chase them and smash them for you.

This is my favorite quote from Bruce Lee:

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not here to live up to mine.

Now: What are you all working on that you’re comfortable sharing?  I’d love to get a list going in the comments section and post it this Sunday during the backtrack.

Personal, physical, mental, spiritual, booklists, whatever.  Anything and everything.  Let’s compare notes.  All progress comes from the same source.  I don’t know what that source is, but I still believe it.

Let’s talk!


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  • IthacaJake July 28, 2009, 8:20 am

    I’ve got several goals, with various deadlines:

    * Weight-loss — Drop 30 lbs by this time next year
    * Cycling — Work up to cycling a 1200k like PBP before I’m 50 (got 20 years to work on that one)…so far I can do a 200k
    * Kettlebell/fitness: Press “the beast” — at some point…but right now I’m still working on C&P my 1 pood kb with my weak arm.
    * Martial Arts: within the next year: get my Sandan in Karate, my Nidan in Battojutsu, and be ready to test for my Black sash in Gungfu by my 32nd birthday.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 9:00 am

      @Ithacajake. Good stuff! I’m also working on pressing the beast, hopefully by February. Are there any videos of your martial arts practice that I can show to people who bully me and I can say “Look, look at my scary friend Jake?”

  • Casey July 28, 2009, 8:32 am

    Big goal: Get my Master’s
    Small goal: Clean the bathroom every week
    Fitness: 350lb deadlift and 20 pullups.

    I think goals flow from our sense of hope. We hope that a future better than our present is possible. If there’s no belief that things can be made better then there is no point in setting and striving for goals.

    …Or China. Lots of stuff come from China these days.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 8:58 am

      Casey, great points. Good luck with the bathroom. What are your deadlift and pullups at currently? I’m also pushing for 20 pullups. There’s going to be a Tactical Strength Challenge here in Salt Lake in September. You’ve got to come up. And it will give you one more reason to work on deadlifts and pullups.

      By the way, what are you studying?

  • Dermanus July 28, 2009, 9:07 am

    Fitness: 1st place in upcoming tae kwon do tournament
    Education: Get MCSA by next summer
    House: Maintain six-month rule for anything I own (if I haven’t used it in six months, it goes)

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 9:44 am

      @Dermanus. I like the idea of the six month rule. Where did you hear about it? Did you come up with it?

      • Dermanus August 28, 2010, 8:54 pm

        Wow this is old. Sorry I didn’t reply. I was vanity Googling myself and this came up.

        I got the idea from Alton Brown (from the TV show Good Eats). It’s his rule for kitchen equipment to avoid a massive collection of uni-taskers.

  • IthacaJake July 28, 2009, 9:13 am

    Hrm… I’m not sure there are too many videos out there of me actually doing anything (though there may be at some stage). I know that our school’s website has a bunch of pictorial-videos that our master put together:


    There’s some shots of us in action from the Arnold 2 years ago:


    That’s me in the third pic in the first row being awarded a point in the spear sparring division, and us with Shihan Dana Abbott in the second row third second pic (I’m the one on the far left).

    In: http://www.goshindo.us/gallery.html#two

    you can see our Tamishigiri (or Test Cutting) seminar from last summer (this year’s will be sometime in September). I’m the third from the left in the second row. All of those photos are pre-kettlebell for me. I haven’t taken anything recently, so you’ll have to stay tuned for any updates as far as that goes 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 9:46 am

      @Jake. All right, I’ve added your blog to my favorites. I’ll be checking in and howling for photos from time to time.

  • Casey July 28, 2009, 10:53 am

    @Dermanus. Ditto, the 6 month rule is a pretty awesome goal. Talk about a streamlining lifehack!

    Currently I am deadlifting 285 and pulling 9. What is a Tactical Strength Challenge?

  • Larissa July 28, 2009, 11:05 am

    wow. . . well, it’s interesting to think about how my goals have changed over the last two months. . but here are some of my new goals:

    * To establish a better daily routine
    * To continue to learn how to help my son
    * To not let the trials in my life steal my joy
    * Short term: to finish Anna Karenina

    Thanks for asking, Josh. . . . I hadn’t given a lot of thought to my goals lately and this made me stop to think about them this morning. 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 11:24 am

      @Larissa. Anna Karenina on Audio was the only way I ever finished it. What do you mean by “better daily routine?”

  • Casey July 28, 2009, 11:08 am

    Thanks, I’ll check it out!

    I totally forgot. I am working on my Masters of Mechanical Engineering at the U. My bachelors was Aerospace Engineering, so it’s been a bit changing gears in terms of what I am studying.

  • Craig Brown July 28, 2009, 11:36 am

    1. NSCA-CPT
    2. Deadlift 350 again
    3. chins 75#x5
    4. Make accelrations and hill sprints a solid part of my routine.
    5. get solid on my cleans and learn to snatch (barbell).

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 11:41 am

      @Craig. When are you going to take your NSCA exam?

  • Larissa July 28, 2009, 11:42 am

    @Josh A better daily routine would mean that I get up at the same time every day, go for a run, have quiet time, cook breakfast and make coffee for my husband before he leaves. . . well that would be a good start to developing a new routine.
    Does your library have Anna Karenina on audio? I just always feel like I’ve cheated when I listen to a book instead of sitting down to read it. . . but I may give myself a free pass for this one.

  • Craig Brown July 28, 2009, 11:53 am

    Target is September on the NSCA. The whole process sort of pisses me off, I disagree with so much of it.

  • Janette H July 28, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the pep talk. It is good to write down goals. It carries more power than just thinking about them, especially as I hit the afternoon munchies and look into the pantry. My goals seem to dissolve in the face of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars.

    My goals:
    1. Enter the world of the kettlebell. (If I keep sleeping with my personal trainer, I’ll be RKC material in no time.)
    2. Lose the baby weight. (But don’t lose the baby. He’s learned how to escape the house.)
    3. I love to cook and bake. But I also love to eat. Make this part of my life fit in with goals 1 and 2.

  • We Fly Spitfires July 28, 2009, 12:49 pm

    Nice work, Josh 🙂

    What’s a Turkish Get Up? A kip-up?

    My goals? Hmm… have a good holiday and become an internet baron. Yeah, those will do for now 🙂

  • IthacaJake July 28, 2009, 12:55 pm

    @We Fly Spitfires:

    A Turkish Getup is an exercise that Kettlebell folks love 🙂
    simply put, we lay flat on our back with the kettlebell held at a 90° angle to our body, then “Get Up” to a standing position with the kettlebell above our head.

    Great shoulder work!

  • Craig Brown July 28, 2009, 1:44 pm

    Josh, we could have that conversation on the phone, it’s probably best if I don’t write it down!


  • Jon Owens July 28, 2009, 1:56 pm

    Great post Josh. I was actually having a conversation today about goals with one of the office assistants I work with. Ultimately, she wants to graduate from San Diego State with a degree in education. She’s currently working full time at my firm and attending community college part time here in Las Vegas. We kicked around the several smaller (less bigger) goals she’d need to achieve to keep her on track for the big one. It was really cool to see the “I can really do this” attitude kick in as her big goal was broken down into smaller, more manageable ones.

    As for me, a few of my goals are:

    1. 20 pullups (deadhang)
    2. Close the Captain of Crush #2 — currently working with the “Trainer” and #1
    3. Drop 30 pounds

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 3:08 pm

      @Jon. Awesome! What are you doing for weight loss? How many pullups can you currently do? I think we should do a community running total of what everyone’s working on that we can all see from time to time. And what about that book you want to write? Is that officially a goal?

  • Al in Vancouver July 28, 2009, 2:01 pm

    My goals include hitting 20 pullups too. I am sort of following Pavel’s Fighter Pullup Program. “Sort of” because I am trying to mix it in with another program from Pavel/Dan John.

    Best of luck to everybody. But really luck has very little to do with it right? Instead of saying “good luck” the Japanese say “gambatte!” which kind of means to get down to it.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 3:09 pm

      Al, how many pullups can you currently do? You’re right about luck–a lot of this is just punching the clock.

  • Ilaria July 28, 2009, 3:23 pm

    I have let my family problems take me away from what I love and nourishes my soul. My immediate goals are:

    – start writing my blogs regularly again
    – continue losing weight
    – stick to my swimming routine (1/2 mile 4 times x week, working my way up to 1 mile)
    – write, write, write, write
    – finish my novel so I can get it out of my system and move on
    – as an alternative, burn all the material relative to said novel and move on (very scary)
    – decide on a new career path and find a job!

    thanks for this excuse to write it down in a public place. I love your blog and you’re wonderful!
    p.s. I just got your last two newsletters. I love the one about the favorite books. Catch 22 is marvelous.
    Much love,

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 3:47 pm

      @Illiaria. What’s your novel about? There’s nothing like being publicly accountable to keep you honest:)

  • Ben Owens July 28, 2009, 3:35 pm

    My main goals haven’t changed in nearly a year now…which may mean I am doing something wrong in attaining them. Here are my two big ones:

    1 – Deadlift over 2.25 X bodyweight (or 400lbs)
    2 – 20 deadhang pullups

    Neither is coming along very fast…

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 3:48 pm

      @Ben. Ben, your only goal needs to be getting over Frank Mir. He’s not as good as you say. You’ll hit that 400 at the TSC. So say we all!

  • Ben Owens July 28, 2009, 3:37 pm

    Oh, and those are just the training goals. I do have other goals in life. I sometimes just get tunnel vision about this stuff.

  • Jon Owens July 28, 2009, 3:45 pm

    Ben told me about the “Warrior Diet” and I was intrigued. I picked up the book used on Amazon for a couple bucks and have been on it for four weeks so far. That and exercise (PM in the evenings x4 and DL, Pullups and dips in the mornings x 4) is my current weight loss strategy.

    As for pullups, the last I “maxed” (about a month ago) I did 9. Since then, I’ve adopted Pavel’s ladders for my pullup routine in the morning and feel much stronger. I’m planning to wait until the end of August before I do another max attempt.

    The book is definately a goal — one that I need to apply more energy to.

    I like the idea of a community running total. It would definately help keep me on track.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 3:49 pm

      @Jon. If you write one page a day, you’ll do it. If you write half a page each day, you’ll do it. If you write zero pages every day, welcome to the new American pastime of competitive wishful thinking!

  • Al in Vancouver July 28, 2009, 4:20 pm

    Josh, I haven’t tested my max in some time but I can maybe hit 12 pullups in one go. As for pavel’s ladders, I hit the first few sets fairly easily and have great difficulty with the final set or two.

    With my goal setting (which has gained alot of emphasis due to the influence of you and Adam Glass, my biggest challenge is to limit the number of goals.

  • Leslie July 28, 2009, 4:52 pm

    Hi Again Josh,

    My goals:

    1) Finish my first romantic/suspense novel and get it published.
    2) Start my business.
    3) Get out of Vegas!

    I have a ton more…but these are the ones on my mind now.

  • Ben Owens July 28, 2009, 4:54 pm

    With a little bit of instruction on how to properly deadlift, I really think I can hit the 400 at the TSC. I have been studying all of the written word I can find on the subject but I still don’t think I have had that lightbulb moment.

    As for Frank Mir, I am over it. Nogueira has been avenged by lunch-box fists!!

  • Al in Vancouver July 28, 2009, 5:09 pm

    @Ben: re: deadlift check out Mark Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength if you haven’t yet done so.

    Have you tried both conventional and Sumo styles?

  • Ben Owens July 28, 2009, 7:01 pm

    @Al: No I haven’t seen that book, but will now that you recommend it.

    I much prefer the conventional style to the sumo.

  • sarah July 28, 2009, 8:09 pm

    Hi Josh. I found your blog through Your wife’s facebook page. I love it! My goal right now is to learn how to knit, specifically one pattern right now I am struggling with. You can read about it on my blog. I really struggle with mastering anything, because I have too many craft and art interest. But I thought about it, and if I can just master this one pattern it would make me very happy.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 28, 2009, 8:45 pm

      Hey Sarah. Can’t give you any advice on the pattern, unless you’re knitting a kettlebell cozy. Janette’s pretty good, and her mom is WAY good. Thanks for the kind words. Stick around!

  • Jessica Marie July 28, 2009, 11:27 pm

    I’ve actually made a list of 101 goals that I want to achieve in 1001 days (inspired by this website: http://www.dayzeroproject.com/) Here are a few of my goals:
    * Try Thai Food
    *Donate blood at least once a year
    *Read 25 children’s books that have been published in the past year
    *Bake Cinnamon Rolls from scratch
    *Loan “Education of a Wandering Man” by L’Amour to someone who might appreciate it
    *Attend a basic yoga class
    *Go at least 7 days without watching any tv or movies
    *Lose 15 pounds
    *Make a handmade gift for each niece and nephew

    • Josh Hanagarne July 29, 2009, 7:58 am

      Jessica, I like the no TV or movies for 7 days rule. Tell me when you’re going to do it and I’ll do it too. I’ve never heard of that Louis L’amour book. IF you want to lend it thisaway I’ll send you my address. Otherwise, I’ll definitely look it up.

  • Rob July 29, 2009, 5:37 am

    Jeez! This is popular!

    Have achieved 2 goals recently.
    100 reps 32kg snatch
    Got an 80kg kettlebell on order (yes I know it’s not right!)

    Goals still to go:
    60kg kettlebell jerk x 30 reps
    Close C of C gripper #3 (5mm to go)
    Lift the 78kg Inch dumbbell to lock out
    Clean and Press 67kg Inch bell

    Work on being as popular as Josh Hanagarne

    Jessica, thanks for that website(dayzeroproject.com) looks great


    • Josh Hanagarne July 29, 2009, 7:56 am

      @Rob. Holy crap. Where did you order an 80kg kettlebell from? And do you actually have an Inch dumbbell? And I can’t believe you did the 100 snatches with 32kg! and I can’t believe you’re not as popular as me! People have their priorities all screwy.

  • Craig Brown July 29, 2009, 9:53 am

    On a related subject, as a total readin freak I did one month of no readin years ago. Very weird, and helped me…

    • Josh Hanagarne July 29, 2009, 9:57 am

      Craig, that’s interesting. I can’t imagine why you made such a goal. ?

  • Josh Hanagarne July 29, 2009, 5:39 pm

    @Craig. I was also going to tell you that I finished Threshold (awesome) and am working on Tours of the Black Clock, both were your recommends. Thanks!

  • Rob August 3, 2009, 5:06 am

    Josh, I went crazy and bought a 53kg, 67kg and 78kg Inch dumbbells and ordered and 80kg kettlebell (will arrive in about 1 month) from http://londonkettlebells.com (they’re awesome) all for a very good price and all with the approval of my good wife (yes she must be the greatest wife in England)


    • Josh Hanagarne August 3, 2009, 7:11 am

      Rob, where do you order the Inch DBs? I can’t wait!