We have just completed the 2016 CrossFit Open season and if you are like most people, you’re probably already thinking of next year. Or, maybe you have some great New Year’s Resolutions that have been forgotten. Perhaps you recently completed a “Whole Life Challenge” and want to keep the momentum going. In the past, we’ve always encouraged our members to set goals, but I wanted to take things a step further, and give you an unbeatable process to help you create goals, set up an action plan to meet them, and provide the key ingredient to success…..ACCOUNTABILITY!
The proven process is called S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting, and it stands for – specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant and timely.
Here’s an example of how it works – say you want to lose 5% body fat by June of 2016. We can break down the goal according to SMART, and develop the action steps needed to get you there.
You want to find a specific area for change, and answer some specific details about it. In the above example, the goal is to lose body fat, specifically lowering it from wherever you are by 5%. One of the first action steps would be a body fat measurement so that we have a baseline to measure from.
Once you’ve defined a specific goal, you can then add more details. Some action steps towards losing 5% body fat might logging your meals, working with a nutrition coach, and/or coming to the gym four days per week. This can look different for everyone, based on the specific goal.
We must be able to measure what it is we are looking to change. CrossFit is big on numbers and being able to show progress, which is why we often repeat benchmark workouts or test the 1-RM in our lifts. This allows us to measure the effectiveness of our programming. The same can be said for measuring your goal. In the example above, the measurement is the goal of losing 5% body fat by June 2016…just in time for summer!
Is your goal attainable? A 5% loss in body fat certainly is, but if the timeline was shorter, say one month, the goal then becomes very unrealistic. Setting smaller, frequent goals that lead you towards a bigger goal sets you up for a “win” more often, and is much more motivating. For example, your overall goal might to be at an athletic body fat level of 10%, but you are currently at 25%. While a 15% loss in one year is attainable, the “reward” is too far away, and you are likely to give up. Setting smaller, more immediate goals (5% every 3 months) is much more realistic.
This is probably the most important part – you need a clear “why” as to why you want to accomplish your goal. Without a “why”, you won’t be nearly as motivated or committed enough to see it through. Your goal should have personal depth, weight and meaning. Perhaps the loss of body fat will lead to greater self-confidence, the ability to play with your kids more often, or will get you that first muscle-up. Whatever it is, it has to mean something significant…to YOU. Your “why” also needs to be clear and it is important you spend some time defining it and what it means to you. We also encourage you share your goal with as many people as possible (especially your Coach), which will help you stay accountable to it.
Setting a target date for when you want to accomplish your goal is crucial. Once this is done, you can establish a timeline, working backwards from your goal with small benchmarks to reach along the way. This method can also be used to break up a big goal into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, your first muscle-up could be broken up into:
- Month 1-3: False grip ring rows and ring dips
- Month 4-6: Strict pull ups and assisted muscle ups
- Month 7-9: False grip chest to ring pull ups and muscle up negatives
- Month 10-12: Strict muscle ups.
I have found this method to be effective and it provides enough guidance and direction to help you get started in setting and achieving your goals. We are also very excited to announce the launch of our formal Goal Setting program, which will be available to all of our members. Your Primary Coach will meet with you, either in small groups, or one-on-one, and help you get the most out of your training.
We will be emailing our members personally in the next few days with all of the details.
The next Open season is only one year away!! Use SMART Goal Setting now, and reap the rewards in 2017!