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Recently on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, bodybuilding legend Dorian Yates shared his insight on a small but powerful technique he used to win six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles from 1992 to 1997.

The trick? Write down your goals and track your progress.

“Every single workout that I ever did, from 1984 to 1997, I have in a training log,” Yates reminisced. To this day, his catalog of gyms, workouts, and training partners allows him to vividly recall training sessions going back to the mid-80s.

But tracking progress on the back end is only half the battle, Yates explained. Outlining your goals ahead of time is what really sets you up to make significant gains in the long term.

“Every month I would make notes and I’d say, ‘Okay, this is what I’m doing now [and] these are my goals for the next four weeks.’”

When it comes to defining your goals, Yates cautions not to get carried away with the big picture too early.

“[Many people say], ‘Right, I’m going to win this contest in 18 months’ time.’ Yeah, that’s cool. You’re going to win that contest. But how are you going to get there?” Instead, Yates encourages people to lay out a series of “little goals like, ‘I want to add 5 pounds to my bench press.’ If you do that every month, at the end of the year you’ve got 60 pounds.”

But memorializing your goals on paper isn’t just for those wanting to throw more weight around in the gym. Anyone seeking to gain an edge on their personal, professional, or spiritual progress can benefit from this technique.

“[Y]ou can do this with anything—business, whatever. You’re writing it down on a piece of paper. You make a commitment. It’s f***ing there on a piece of paper. Every day you can look at that. And that just gives you a stronger mental vision.”

“You’ve said it. You made the commitment. You put it on paper. So are you going to let yourself down?”

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