2017 Perform Challenge: The Golden Circle

Sarah Cook
May 16, 2017

“What do you want the most?”

It’s a simple question, but the answer is tricky. If you’re entering the 2017 Perform Challenge without a clear aim, your results already are in danger of being less than they could be. But right here, right now, you have the chance to search deep within, formulate a plan, and set some goals that will guide you to achieve What You Want the Most.

Most people approach a Challenge by first choosing a goal. This is the WHAT. Selecting your goal first is not the best way to achieve your goal. This seems counterintuitive, but let me explain.

The Golden Circle. Far too many people begin with WHAT they want, then determine HOW to get there, and then state WHY they want it in the first place. This is backwards.

We’ve all hit that point in the workout where we want to quit. We’re tired, we’re sore, and we just want to go through the motions and stop pushing ourselves. But sometimes we rise above the temptation. Sometimes we kick it into a gear we didn’t know we had, and we finish well.

What pushes us to this level? If you’re anything like me, the extra willpower came from remembering. Not remembering my WHAT (Goal), not remembering HOW to do the workout, but from my WHY. I remember WHY I’m working out, WHY I’m sweating, WHY I’m trying to improve, and suddenly I thrive.

Your WHY is everything. Therefore, our mindset must flow from WHY (motivation) → HOW (process) → WHAT (product).


So ask yourself, “Why am I doing this Challenge? Why am I at Iron Tribe?” Your answer should not be, “Because I want to lose weight.” That’s your WHAT. That’s the result you’re aiming for. Your WHY is deeper than that, more personal.

For me, my WHY is that I’m getting married soon and want to be as healthy as I can be in all aspects of my life. For you, it could be that you want to live longer so you can have more time with your loved ones. You may want to prove to yourself that you can conquer something that doesn’t come to you naturally. You may want to have a blast in the gym with your closest friends and enjoy the process of getting better every day.

Make sure that the fire within is healthy, something that you have mastery over and not the other way around. Your WHY shouldn’t be because you want the approval of someone else, because you think a new body will make you drastically happier, or because you hate yourself and your body as it is. This is your journey. Your WHY needs to be from you, by you, and for you.

So ask yourself. Be honest. Find your healthy WHY. It’s the only thing that will carry you past the temptation of quitting on last set or indulging in the complementary donut box at work.


Once we’re laser-locked on our motivation, we begin to figure out HOW we’re going to act upon our WHY. If I am 50 lbs overweight and know that my WHY is that I want to live longer so I can have more time with family, then I know my WHAT will be to lose weight. But we can’t make that jump in thinking just yet.

The only way we make our innermost desires a reality is to come up with a solid, sustainable plan that we can follow no matter what. This is our process. This is our HOW.

If I am 50 lbs overweight and want to shed fat so I can lead a healthier life, then I have to determine HOW to do it. I would need to take out my calendar and plan out my week. For some of you, this may mean penciling in every hour of every day and every ingredient you will buy and when you will eat it. For others, you may take it one day at a time. But the old adage is true: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Chances are, you’re not brand new at Iron Tribe. Maybe you are, and if so, welcome! We need to remember that the goals we are chasing have not yet come to fruition, so something’s gotta give if we want to reach new heights. The biggest factor for nearly all of us in transforming our WHY into a WHAT is our diet.

If you checked Facebook at any point during this Spring’s Transform Challenge, chances are you saw people radically changing their body composition. That’s what happens when you adhere to the Health, Cut, or Mass Templates through Iron Tribe: you get results. Nothing worth having is easy, and it will demand commitment and sacrifice on your part. But your process of accomplishing your goal is simply to follow the diet and workout at the gym.

So what’s the HOW? We’ve taken the guesswork out. All you have to do is show up.


This is the fun one! After determining your motivation for change and how you’re going to change, we get to set a goal for the end result. Our WHAT, our goal, needs to be SMART.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

“I want to have abs.” This is a goal I’ve had before, and several of us may have had as well. But this WHAT is severely lacking in direction. How can I measure whether or not I “have abs?” What day do I want to “have abs” by? How does this relate to my WHY / is it even relevant?

An example of a SMART goal with a similar focus could be: “I will decrease my PBF by 3 percentage points over the next 6 weeks by adhering to my diet 95% of the time and working out 4 times per week. I will do this so that I can lead a healthier lifestyle.”

One key aspect that’s often overlooked in goal setting is the “Attainable” part. We have to strike a balance between goals that are far too easy for us to reach (losing 1 lb in 6 weeks) and goals that are out of reach for any normal human (losing 50 lbs in 6 weeks). We can’t give ourselves a goal that involves no sacrifice, but we can’t expect ourselves to be Superman or Superwoman either.

Know yourself. Know if you’re prone to expect too much or too little of yourself, and work with your coach to find a WHAT that you can achieve if you follow your HOW and remember your WHY.

The Perform Challenge is yours for the taking. Let your WHY fuel your HOW, and you’ll achieve your WHAT before you know it.

Let’s go crush it!

Sarah Cook

Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.