I wanted to make sure the whole mantra of New Years Resolutions had melted away before I put this post together. As the title states this write-up will revolve around goals that you need to set for yourself if you ever want to hit them. By definition a resolution is a decision to act whereas a goal per Dictionary.com is ““. So first comes the resolution to improve ones self (which I’m assuming most of you have made sometime ago, if not then welcome aboard!) followed by the goal that you are specifically targeting. I give this bit of background not to bore you with linguistic details but more to encourage you to be specific in your intentions for this year.
One great way to set goals is with a measurable outcome. There is no better way to gauge your success than with quantifiable metrics. An example would be to increase the amount you squat by 30 pounds. You either don’t increase it by 30 lbs or you do. If you want to be a real over achiever then you not only meet your goal but then exceed it by another 10 pounds. Before you start thinking I’m all about numbers and comparing stats, I’m not. I am a firm believer in improving yourself each day. I’m just giving a suggestion on how to measure that improvement. If you raise the amount you can squat by 30 pounds then almost by default you have to be in better shape (i.e. stronger in this case) than you were before thus more prepared to handle the rigors associated with many of the hunts we partake in.
Weight is not the only measurable unit we can target. How about the time it takes you to run a set distance? If you can run a set distance faster than you can now then you’ve made another improvement in your overall conditioning. Say you average 10 minute miles over the course of a 3 mile run. Set your goal to lower the time it takes you to run that three miles to 9 minutes per mile. You either get that average down to 9 minutes or you don’t. Similarly, if you are currently running two miles per session then you could set a goal of running 4 miles per session prior to the beginning of the next hunting season. Again, you have a measurable goal to target.
Saying you are going to add 50 pounds to your deadlift or increase the distance you run by 10 miles per week sounds much better than “I’m going to get in better shape”, “I’m going to workout more”, or “I’m going to start running”. Make a goal and achieve it, period. If you fail, try harder next time. Pretty simple.
Not all of your hunting goals need to be fitness related of course. Obviously, if you are making the commitment to be in great physical condition you have something in mind come fall you want. Here is where a lot more variables come into play, Mother Nature for example, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set specific goals and expend all the energy you have to meet them. I’m not a big antler inches guy, but if that’s your driving force then set a minimum score and stick to it. If you are after several different species of game that is a measurable goal, right? You either killed an elk, mule deer, whitetail, and turkey all in one season or you didn’t. You could be like me and have calculated that three whitetail deer will keep me in meat from one hunting season to the next. That’s a goal I have each year. Again, I’ve set a target to work towards not just telling myself I’d like to shoot some deer this season.
There are some other admirable goals you can consider that aren’t quite as quantitative but no less important. Say you want to go elk hunting or you’ve never had a chance to hunt whitetails in the Midwest. Perhaps you’ve never stalked a havelina with a bow or caught a steelhead on the fly. A fantastic goal we should all have is to introduce a new hunter/fisherman to the sport each year. Another would be to become a member of a group dedicated to preserving our public lands or improving animal habitat. Set these goals now and make it happen. Achievement is measured in whether you executed the mission or you didn’t. Don’t simply say “I want to be more involved in conservation” or “I want to experience a new hunt”. Be specific and do it.
Lastly, don’t forget about setting some mental or spiritually focused goals. Perhaps you want to read more to help with stress and improve your knowledge base. Why not say you want to read some specific books this year? How about setting your goal to attend church at a minimum 3 times a month? Maybe you should plan to have some sort of meditation each night to bring the day to a close and put your mind at ease making drifting off to sleep a calming and relaxing event.
Your goals are personal, don’t compare yourself to others. I’m not going to power clean 300 pounds this year. You might be a stud and capable of doing so and I certainly can appreciate that level of strength but I am going to be stronger at the beginning of season than I am now. You may have sheep in your crosshairs, but for now I’d be tickled to hunt in a state I have never hunted in regardless of the game. You may need to lose 50 pounds but I’m happy maintaining my current weight or distributing it differently. What I am driving too here is you know what you want. Don’t feel you need to do what person A is doing in order to be successful or meeting worthwhile goals. Yes, you should push yourself but we’re all different. All you can do is get a little better each day whether that be physically, mentally, or even growing your experience log. You get to decide but you need to set that goal and flat get after it!!!!!