“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Ole Albert Einstein, he always had pithy things to say. Good concise statements about life.
Powerlifting however, may be one of the worst sports for goal setting, as its so black & white, and its very very hard to gauge forks in the road.
If I had a $1 for every person that told me a number they were going to achieve on a movement, that hasn't happened, well, I'd have at least $10 (I don't have many friends).
Bad goals = amount of absolute weight lifted beyond 10% of your current lift (even 5% for a advanced lifter). With all due respect, people pulling 270 of a single should have a whole lot of goals before pulling 300.
A lesson I had to learn
I failed 300kg (one of the fails above) 5 times. That's 5 full training cycles leading to a max out that was a fail. I've pulled 295kg many times. This is annoying.
Two years of my life, tied to a arbitrary number, that ultimately made me quite salty at lifting.
Now - given I'd pulled 295kg many times, I'm going to assume that many things other than my strength are the issue, and had I'd been smarter, better goals would have led to a better outcome.
Goal 1 - Lift in terms of BW (and total)
Lift in terms of context, a big deadlift while you are fat and the rest of your movements (and walking) suck, is a bad idea.
A better goal than a arbitrary number is to have a goal based on BW (given thats the whole idea of the sport).
I pulled 295 at 95kg and I'm about 110 in the above video. I just got fat and my form got worse, but in my myopic view, its all that mattered.
Its hard to accept now, but I should have thought about 295 at 92kg given that was my goal weight.
I also had a trash squat during this period, so in context, I was fat, weak with a bad total, but hindsight is 2020.
If your total is moving up and your weight is stable or moving down, you win.
Goal 2 - A plan
For the majority of lifters, the best years of progress are the ones with written programs. Accumulating stress takes a high level of planning, and getting strong just doing 'sets' is highly inefficient.
We always recommend programs from http://www.canditotraininghq.com/free-programs/.
For the 300, the plan was actually usually pretty good, sticking with it, had some issues.
Wide grip sumos - a Candito secret
Goal 3 - Consistently Consistent
Sticking to a program, from first warmup to last accessory is hard. For many programs, we'd give a realistic goal of 90% compliance, that's hitting 9 out of every 10 programmed sets (and we programmed all warmups).
If you can write a program (or get one for free off the net) and it accumulates stress, you will succeed. In the fail of 300, so many accessories were skipped, laziness got me in the end.
Goal 4 - Health is wealth - eat better and nail preworkout
Here's a obvious statement, when you accumulate a bunch of stress during a training cycle, you beat the crap out of your body and should eat properly.
Its pretty fair to say powerlifters can be less accurate with macros, but on the tail end of a cycle, you need sufficient protein carbs and fats.
A strong strong tip is to add fat to your preworkout meal (coconut oil on your rice) and some nuts on the side. Workouts get long, and you will skip final sets due to hunger if you don't plan properly.
If you want to maximise your strength, the classic gram per KG is a good enough start for protein, some people need more, some people recover fine on that.
Goal 5 - Start and finish injury free and mobile
It sound obvious in hindsight - but starting a training cycle with a small injury means you have a big injury at the end.
If I could go back and spend 3 weeks before one of those training cycles working on small injuries, I would have pulled that 300. It sounded like a waste of time then, but it likely would have saved countless weeks later on.
There you go, 5 goals that you can control that make you better.