Goals are like sports – if you don’t do anything, you won’t achieve much. You can also run 10 miles and completely kill yourself, or you may feel like you’re flying. Sure enough, everyone wants the latter. So, what are the lessons we can draw and apply in the area of personal goals?
Here we will look at the rate of our heartbeat – from normal to the maximum load. How, do you think, this relates to working on our objectives? Could it be helpful in the pursuit of effectiveness?
The five zones and why they are important
Without being experts in sports, we would like to present briefly the so-called heart rate zones. Some very popular sports programs are based on them.
- Gray (rest, inactivity)
- Blue (warm-up)
- Green (optimal load)
- Orange (threshold)
- Red (maximum performance).
Some of these allow us to progress with ease, while others aim at expanding our performance. If we know where exactly we are then we can get better results.
# 1 The first zone: the gray – inaction and rest
This is when we do nothing, or why not the “twilight zone”. At this stage, nothing has changed so far, there is no new action and no progress.
The gray area and sports
It is very much like planning to take part in a marathon, but instead, you walk as if going to the grocery store. You do not strain yourself in any way and accordingly, this won’t do you any good regarding the incoming marathon.
If we don’t act there will be no results.
The gray area and our objectives
In the context of goal setting, being in this first zone is tantamount to having only the idea in your head. For example, you come up with a great business plan, but instead of implementing it, you do nothing more than just talking about it.
It looks very much as if we are stuck. The more time we spend in this state, the more unhappy and frustrated with the situation we will be. So, it is good to get to the next step as soon as possible.
# 2 The second zone – the blue, or start somewhere
It means that are already heading towards something different. Little by little, we are moving in the desired direction. It is important to go through this stage because it prepares us to continue optimally and with minimal risk. Let’s see how this unfolds!
In sports, the blue zone is for warming up
Anyone who has ever exercised knows that it is not a good idea to start right away with maximum effort. What you do is first to warm up and gradually increase the load. The pace should be reasonable and not stressing the body too much.
It’s like running in the park – the gray zone is for rest and the blue one is for slow and easy jogging.
It is a must because it safeguards against injuries. We don’t want torn muscles, sprained joints, and whatnot. And so it goes with goals.
Action in the blue zone
When defining a goal, we usually need some time to feel the ground and get ready. This is very much like warming up before any physical exercise.
Our system usually employs the 90-day research goals to this end. The idea is to be able to set up the scene in a way that’s well organized and planned. And more importantly to kick it off without any pain or stress.
We strongly recommend that the first 90 days are for warming up the engine of our dreams.
What is the problem with the blue zone?
We are all tempted by the prospect of achieving results quickly and with no warm-up step whatsoever. But if we fall for this then failure becomes quite likely.
There are two very important rules in the “GoalBuddy” system. First, you start acting. And then the second one is not stopping. If you are in the blue zone, i.e. you already made the first steps then you have to charge yourself with perseverance and keep going.
But we cannot be warming forever. It’s time to pick up the pace a little bit.
# 3 The third zone – green (or aerobic)
This is what we are looking for. Everything we do is with the right degree of effort. It’s just enough to move us forward, to help us achieve the desired results but with a reasonable amount of energy spent.
The green zone in sports
Have you ever experienced the feeling that you could run one mile after another? That’s what happens when you are in the green zone.
At certain levels of our heartbeat during exercise, the body starts processing lactic acid. Besides, it burns mainly fat, which is the secondary source of energy even if not as efficient. This allows us to go on for a long time and still feel great.
Ivan’s experience: “I can run forever!”
In the very beginning, when he started running, the 10-minute runs were too much for him. It was difficult for him to believe that there were competitions for running hundreds of miles for tens of hours.
But over time he improved dramatically and today he runs an average of about an hour. When he enters the green zone, he doesn’t even feel tired.
“Once my heart rate was so much so in the green zone that I didn’t even realize it’s been almost two hours since I began my run. I could go on like that for hours. But I didn’t want to overdo it or injure myself and decided it was time to stop”.
Niki’s experience: “It makes a big difference!”
His favorite sport is mountain biking which he enjoys immensely. Still, sometimes he takes part in running competitions. During these Niki has realized something very interesting.
He would always start with an attitude of “participating for the sake of participation”. But at some point, his competitive nature takes over and he picks up the pace, stepping out of his green zone trying to do his best. Well, as a result, it would take him days to recover afterward.
And vice versa:
“When I make the conscious effort to monitor my heart while in the aerobic zone the overall feeling is great. I can cover several miles and then feel as if I was out for a short walk.”
The green zone of action on the targets
The greater number of our actions towards an objective should be done when we are in the “green zone”. That’s how long-term results are achieved and sustained.
There is no need to overdo things here. Working on goals is a marathon, not a sprint. When we know our optimal pace and with the help of perseverance, success is assured. The best part is that all of it is done with ease and a feeling of satisfaction.
So, we have to know what our green zone’s boundaries are and keep trying to stay within those.
When we get out of it
Exercising patience is indispensable in the course of any of our efforts. It allows us to stick to the chosen strategy and register small but consistent progress.
The “GoalBuddy” system is designed in such a way that it makes it possible that a long-term objective is reached with the least possible effort. Having a clear picture of our vision we can take advantage of the cumulative effect of small steps. Each new quarter becomes a new success if we manage to stay in our “green” zone.
# 4 The fourth – the orange/threshold zone
If we bring up the tempo above the aerobic, we get over an inflection point.
In sports, it is also called the “Lactate threshold zone”
The heart rate is already very fast, breathing is faster, we are quickly approaching our upper limit. The body starts processing lactic acid but this will soon eat into our carbohydrates in our body and we cannot sustain that kind of burning energy for too long.
The orange zone of our goals
We are speeding well above what is comfortable for us. These are the times when the stress and tension of working towards our dreams are a net positive. Even if we get tired we still manage to deal with fatigue and overload.
Just a day or two of rest and we are ready again to go into high gear next week.
But if for one reason or another we decide to go a bit further then we will get into this last zone…
# 5 The red zone
It means maximum speed. The load is extreme, the body and mind are on the verge of their limit. It will take a lot more time to rest and recover. Not to mention it will be hard to resume.
But don’t get us wrong! This is not necessarily a bad thing.
The red zone in sports
When the body burns a lot of carbohydrates and is unable to process the lactic acid released, the feeling is as if this will be your last breath. It doesn’t make sense to go on like this for too long.
But it is beneficial from time to time because it expands the limits of the body. There are many training programs based on different methods of carefully managing the zones integrating the red one.
Our bodies easily adapt to change. And then, given enough time you will start moving out of the “red zone” into the orange one. Eventually, you will end up in the “green zone”.
The same thing happens with goals.
Action on the targets in the red zone
If you are one of those people who tend to put in too much effort and go through fire and water in the name of your dreams, you are one of the so-called “winners”. It is normal for them not to sleep, not to eat normally, and to live only on coffee or any other energy drink.
But it can’t last forever. In the long run, fatigue steps in, and stress leads to the inevitable burnout. Your body will say at some point “No”. And then you will need a long break. Sometimes so long that then the restart is difficult.
As we already mentioned the one thing that’s great here is that you increase your ability to achieve more next time. The tricky part is to be aware of it all the time and thus it will become your second nature to go for and achieve higher results.
The zones and our system
“GoalBuddy” is aimed at bold and challenging dreams. Can we achieve them in a month? Very unlikely. But in 30 years? Most definitely we can!
That is why we have long-term visions for the important aspects of our lives. For each of them, we set 90-day goals to work on consistently. We chose our own pace in a manner that we register progress without killing ourselves. And the capacity for perseverance is achieved through the small weekly steps and regular talks with our Buddy. Thanks to the quarterly reviews of our goals plus the annual audit, we know far we got and what to do next.
One piece of advice we would like to voice here is that at least two of the three 90-day goals be in the “green” zone, and not more than one to be in the red. But most of all – we pace ourselves without trying to catch up with those around us.
Racing against yourself
There will be always those who can outrun and overtake us in the course of a race.
This shouldn’t make us feel bad about ourselves but rather inspire us. In the end, it’s all a matter of practice. It is paramount to know where we are and where we want to go. Let’s stay focused on how we feel and how we are doing overall. It’s good to challenge ourselves by stepping out of the comfort zone and thus register more progress. But we have to be wise about it and always remember that perseverance is the one winning strategy we can’t go without.
What zone are you in at this very moment?
Hopefully, you have learned today an interesting perspective on goals and how to use different load zones effectively. So, we have a couple of questions. How are you doing with your goals doing right now? Are you warming up? Or you already picked up your best pace? But God forbid you are at the edge of your ability to deal with it all. Go ahead and do share it with us in the comments section.
And if you’re still looking for a way to start somewhere, why not try our 7-day email program? With it, you can easily kick off a routine. Have a good day and we hope to hear from you soon!