Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Make sure you’re in the 9% that reach their New Year’s goals
Jan 9th, 2021
And just like that we have entered a New Year and it’s hard to even think where the time has gone! But with a crazy year behind us, more aerialists than ever before are using the motto ‘new year, new me’ and thinking of what they want to achieve in the year ahead.
If you haven’t already, you’re probably dreaming up a long list of New Year’s resolutions and goals to conquer. Now, not to be the pessimist, but I’m here to tell you that most New Year’s resolutions fail before Jan 14th rolls around.
And as Jan 15th rolls on, I too commonly hear my patients say they have already missed out on their mobility exercises or ruined their diet already. And that they promise they’ll jump back on the wagon again next Monday….
Hold up. Just stop thinking about your goals for a sec and back it up. Whether your New Year’s exercise resolutions are to shed those few extra kilos you’ve put on over Christmas, or unlock a new trick, research by the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, shows that only 9% of us will actually achieve our New Year’s goals.
There’s a reason why these resolutions fail and we are going to cover them today in this blog, starting with…
You’re a pole dancer. So we already know that you’re madly motivated, got a ton of ambition and are addicted to progress. Therefore it’s no surprise that you have goals coming out of your wazoo.
Quite often pole dancers are working on multiple flexibility goals, floorwork goals, pole trick goals, and handstand/strength goals, all whilst working on putting together multiple routines. It’s no wonder why we feel overloaded!
That’s a lot to work on all at the same time. But instead of focusing on achieving them all at once and not making any progress, we can succeed at them by making them longer term goals and by breaking up the year into macro, meso and micro cycles. More on this later. Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Catch the Feels
You’ve heard it all before. S.M.A.R.T. goals are ones that get achieved. If you don’t know what S.M.A.R.T. goals are, then I’d encourage you to read through this blog here first. But for the sake of not repeating myself again, we’re just going to move on and assume everyone knows what these are.
Ok, so you’ve created your SMART goals. But I now challenge you to go one step further and actually put meaning behind your goal.
Start phasing your goals with these joining words:
“As a ….. I want to…. so I can… “
It’s a bit wordy, but you’ll see why I encourage this in a moment. For example, this year I want to be able to achieve my deadlift handspring in the first 6 months of the year. But saying this for me isn’t enough. So I would instead word my goal like this:
“As a dancer who enjoys feeling strong and empowered through pole, I want to achieve my deadlift handspring within 6 months, so I can begin to choreograph it in a competitive routine in the last six months of the year”
And BAM! Suddenly my S.M.A.R.T. goal caught the feels. I now have an emotive drive and reason behind why I want to nail this goal so badly. You may feel this desire without writing it down, but actually taking the time to do so will remind you of those feelings when you go to train. Which takes me to my next point…
Write Down your Goals
No really, write them down. Head to the shops and buy a whiteboard or chalkboard and place your goals in plain sight every day so you can see them. Seeing your goals will definitely motivate you to work towards them.
Get a Pole Buddy
Having a friend to practice with you or work on similar goals will definitely help keep you accountable, and let’s face it, a splits session with friends is so much more fun than one alone!
Break up your Goals
Back to those earlier mentioned cycles. So, we will cover the concept of macro, meso and micro cycles in an upcoming blog, but for the sake of today’s blog I’ll explain it briefly.
Firstly, if you haven’t already, I want you to write up all of this year’s pole related goals. You may have anywhere between 8-20 goals. These goals make up your macro cycle and for most people they will take at least 12–24 months to achieve all of these goals.
Now I want you to choose maybe 3-4 of these goals that you really want to achieve asap and write them down. Your goals could be anything from pole conditioning, nailing a trick or even sticking to a new routine. These chosen goals will make up your 12-week meso-cycle. Place the other goals to the side for now.
The 12-Week System
Setting goals to a 12-week plan will help you make the most progress towards your goals without feeling overwhelmed but still be accountable. You can even set smaller goals to achieve at the end of each week or fortnight to stay focused on your pole smashing journey. These 1- to 2-week timeframes are known as micro cycles.
Once your 12 weeks are up, then you move onto your next goals, regardless of whether you achieved your first lot or not. Creation of new goals every 3 months stops complacency and instils a mild sense of time pressure to nail the goal.
A pole planner is a great way to break down a 12-week system into smaller micro cycles and work on smaller pole goals.
But for many goals, they will require a longer period of time, sometimes even years, which is why it’s so important to measure progress over time to not feel discouraged.
Create a weekly exercise plan and take it slow
As a Physio, the biggest barrier we see to achieving new goals is the need to ‘go hard or go home’. The sudden increase in intensity and frequency of exercise can result in burnout and an increased number of overuse injuries that could have been easily avoided. So, remember to take it slow!
For example: if you’ve previously only exercised once a week, then gradually increase your sessions and their intensity over months instead of going full throttle. And don’t forget to schedule in 1-2 rest days in your week. You won’t make progress unless your body has a chance to recover in between sessions.
Map out your pole week using an amazing planner like the one from Hair Flicks and Tricks to ensure you’re not overloading too quickly.
Measure your Progress
Pole progress can be measured in so many different ways including pictures, videos, weight lifted, range of motion, strength testing via a physio or by measurement of split angle. Splits can be easily measured by all of you at home. There are a range of free and easy apps that can be used to help. Photo Measures Lite is one of these apps. Keep all of your measurements written down for reference. If you’re not measuring, then you’re guessing!
Measuring of progress is important but it’s also important to not get too disheartened if you’re not making constant continued progress. Progress is never a straight path and doesn’t always need to be going forwards. Sometimes we need to go sideways or backwards first in our journeys to get to our final destination. Touch base with a Physio to figure out why your body isn’t getting to the destination you’re after.
What about my other goals? Will I lose my progress if I only focus on one or two areas?
Absolutely not. Your flexibility and strength won’t go to the side whilst working on other goals. Instead, working towards these new goals will help with your cross training and make you a more robust athlete. But instead of trying to tackle them all at the same time, working on 2-4 of them at once is more than enough!
Once you’ve nailed your goal, work on something completely different in the following 12 weeks. This varies your routine and helps keep you motivated and dedicated to your training.
The best thing about pole and aerial dancing is that we have a range of different areas we can work on, so there is always something we can train and work towards. Do what you love and not what celebrities tell you
The internet is full of self-proclaimed experts without medical degrees. Every fitness related instructor or website is crying out for your attention by promising that they have the secret to reaching your goals quicker. Why do they do this? Well.. unfortunately $$$ makes the world goes round. (Just FYI – I do not get paid in any way shape or form from these blogs or from things I recommend. I create them only out of benefit of my audience which is why you’ll never see any sponsored ads from me)
But regardless of whatever the newest craze, celebrity or even pole instructor says to do, there’s no point in doing it if you don’t enjoy it. Life is way too short for boring workouts.
If you enjoy your training, you will leave feeling more motivated, energised and empowered than before. And it’s a proven fact. The best sort of exercise is the one that you’ll do and love. So train doing the things you love and it won’t feel like hard work, and you’re far less likely to quit.
Reflect and Appreciate
As one year comes to an end and another starts, don’t forget to take a few months to look back and find your previous goals to appreciate how far you actually have come in that 12-month period. Our bodies are incredible. And there’s nothing else that proves it quite like watching the progress of a pole, aerial or contortion artist. So casting your mind back over the past year will surely provide you with the feels and help shape your next 12 months of goals.
So, what is the very first goal you are going to work on in the New Year? And what are you proud of that you achieved this past year?
Wanting to someone to push you that extra mile, keep you accountable and work with you towards your goals?
Online telehealth appointments can be booked with the Pole Physio via our ‘Book Online’ page that can be found here. Assessment and tailored rehabilitation are provided in accordance with best practice and evidence-based treatment to help you unleash your 'poletential'.
Until next time, train safe.
The Pole Physio