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Nothing works unless you do; why goal setting is important

You’ve often heard one of your coaches ask you about your goals. Sometimes it’s a daily discussion involving the WOD and sometimes it’s to help an athlete find a long term focus. Either way, goal setting is an important part of Crossfit and your success as an athlete. There are not many people who do CrossFit for the “fun” of it, although the fun aspect does help. Many people have a reason for doing CrossFit; health benefits, weight loss, increase strength, training for a specific sport, etc. To increase your chances of success in any of these areas, it is important to have goals, both short and long term goals. For instance, wanting to lose 100 pounds is a great long term goal that will require many short term goals to get you there. Wanting to get a muscle up is a great long term goal, with many short term goals along the way that may start with learning pull ups or starting with ring rows. Understanding what it will take to get you to that goal is an important part of the process.

So, how and where should you start with goal setting? Great question! Your goals must be SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Let’s break this down a bit more.

Specific: What specific goal do you want to reach?” I want to run a mile in under 10:00 minutes”, “I want to learn how to do a ring dip”, “I want to lose 10 pounds by June 1st”. Specific is the opposite of general, so a goal should not be; “I want to be a runner” or “I want to be better at CrossFit”. Those types of goals will leave you dissatisfied as you will never fully understand when the goal is reached. There is no way to measure the goal.

Measurable: As previously mentioned, to find success there needs to be a way to measure your goal. That way, you know when to move to your next goal or next progress step. For instance, if I want to get a handstand push up but am a beginner. I might be starting with regular pushups and my first goal would be to get 20 unbroken regular pushups. Once I have met that goal, I might then move on to 10 unbroken pike handstand pushups from a box……. And so on through the smaller goals in the hopes that I will eventually reach my larger goal of a hand stand push up.

Attainable: I’d like to hope that this is self-explanatory. You should not be setting a goal that is completely out of reach for you. It doesn’t mean that it won’t be in your reach at some point, but don’t set a goal to run a marathon when you’re struggling to run half a mile. Your goal at this point might be to run a mile without stopping by June 1st (one month goal).

Relevant: This is the ‘why’ of your goal and might be personal to you. If you’re making a goal for CrossFit, it should be CrossFit related and relevant to CrossFit. If your goal is to increase your back squat weight, you wouldn’t spend three days a week doing handstand pushups and ring dips. You’ll likely spend 2-3 days working different sets of back squats or other leg and core movements.

Timely: Give yourself the time, the appropriate time. If you want to hit a 5 pound PR on your snatch, your goal date should not be 1 year out. Comparatively, if you are looking to get a muscle up, a one month goal may not be appropriate either. However, you should always set a time frame to meet the goal. That will give you the extra push and motivation to get to your goal.

Lastly, don’t feel like a failure if you don’t hit your goal. That is just a time to re-evaluate and refocus.

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