With my analytical nature and proclivity towards everything numbers I really enjoy setting a quantitative goal, staying the course, and accomplishing said goal. This post is a guide to help you focus your own goals and additional things to keep in mind when setting them.
A lot of people set New Years resolutions, but these are typically vague and seem more like “it would be nice to-s.” This is what we want to avoid when we set our goals. We want finite quantitative goals and have a plan laid out to accomplish them.
The first criteria is that your goals need to be SMART, which is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Though you have probably been exposed to the SMART goal concept in the past it is always good to revisit it:
While you want a goal to be attainable and realistic do not use these as a crutch to limit yourself. You can still set high goals just make sure that the time line you give yourself is realistic.
In addition to the 5 “SMART” criteria there are four additional items that I like to use while goal planning for myself or with members.
The first is to write the goal down. This helps to make the goal real and allows you to be accountable to yourself. To go even further you can make it public by telling others or using the goal board in the back of the gym this goes even further to help you keep yourself accountable. Beyond that it helps keep the goal at the front of your mind…you can use post-its on your refrigerator, car steering wheel, or wherever keeps you reminded of the goal.
The next additional criteria is to set intermediate steps if the goal is long term (>4 weeks); while adding 100 pounds to your back squat is a great goal, in order to add 100 pounds you have to first add 10 pounds, then 20, then 30, etc. Setting smaller intermediate goals helps psychologically by giving yourself realistic steps along the way. It also gives you a reason to push for the goal in the short term…if your goal is a 6+ month goal it is too easy to justify missing one week or having an extra cheat meal but if accomplishing the next step is a couple weeks out and so close you can taste it then it helps to stay focused. Just try to eat that elephant one bite at a time.
Third it is best to go ahead and write down how you are going to accomplish that goal…and make that a complimentary goal. To go back to the back squat example, if your goal is to add 100 pounds to your back squat you should probably squat at least once a week to get there. Therefore you have just created a new goal: “back squat once a week.” So what do you do if you have a work function and miss the WOD when the gym was back squatting? You come in during open gym and get under the bar. Another example if weight loss is your goal, would be to only have a specific number of cheats a week or limit number of alcoholic beverages a week.
Lastly is to set supplementary goals that fight unintended consequences of the original goal. If you have not seen the Brendan Fraser movie Bedazzled he makes a deal with the devil and is granted wishes. Every time he is granted his wish, but he has not thought about the unintended consequences which always gets him in trouble. An example is he wishes to be very rich and ends up being a drug cartel being hunted by the DEA. If your goal is to raise your lifts you may want to add a supplementary goal of maintaining your current body weight or keeping your run times or bench marks, say “Helen”, the same. This helps to keep your mind on the goals of increased overall fitness in addition to a specific domain.
Over the next few days start developing and outline of your goals for 2016 and beyond. Once you have that outline, please schedule a sit down with a coach to help you plan out all your goals and how you are going to accomplish them.
Now get out there and kick your goals in the face.
CrossFit Wappoo – James Island – Charleston, SC