Freddy and I read this great article tonight by Juggernaut Training Systems on the The Sport Psychology of Goal-Setting— you can see the article here.
I have researched goal setting before for my own personal use, as well as, for a client who wanted some assistance with her goals. The typical search results offer acronyms, like “SMART” (specific, measurable, action or attainable, realistic, and time based) and that is a great start! I will link the resources below that I have previously found. But, we really enjoyed the Juggernaut article because it emphasizes the importance of the hierarchy of the different goal types.
You have heard that saying before (or you just read it above!) –“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” This is easy for most people to understand and apply to their schooling and career, but it can be harder to define in their personal lives and athletic pursuits. I’ll stick to the latter for this blog post as this is more for our Raido Coaching clients.
As Michael Israetel outlines in his article for Juggernaut, the ‘outcome’ type goals are the most exciting and flashy. It feels good and is easy to say something like, “I want to deadlift 500lb,” “I want to get a strict handstand push-up,” “I want to row 500 meters in less than 90 seconds”. But how do we get there? If it truly means enough to you, you will make time to sit down and define your goals.
I realize this can be overwhelming in the CrossFit world as there is so much to work on and it can be hard to know where to start. This is where a good ‘box’ or gym and good coaches can help you. With properly planned progressions even within a structured group class environment you will see improvement. But the responsibility and accountability cannot lie solely with your coach or gym– they can write the most amazing program for you, but if you don’t come in and do the work, rain or shine, you won’t see results. Not to mention putting effort into your recovery as well (sleep, food prep, body maintenance, etc).
Freddy loves this quote from Louie Simmons, owner of Westside Barbell: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” We have a whiteboard up in our garage gym with goals that we regularly review. Not vague goals like, “I want to get stronger,” or “I want to look better in a bikini.” There are ‘outcome’ goals on there for specific competitions, as well as ‘performance goals’ with deadlines. There are even some ‘process’ goals on there, and I will get into those a bit more if you didn’t have a chance to read the Juggernaut article linked above.
An outcome goal may be, “win my weight class at my next powerlifting meet” or “place in the top 10 at my next CrossFit competition.” The performance goals for powerlifting will be related directly to my squat, bench and deadlift numbers, as well as their associated assistance work. For the CrossFit competition, I may have performance goals relating to specific gymnastics numbers, as well as, my personal records in weightlifting or certain ‘Benchmark’ workouts, etc. My process goals will be much more detailed about how much sleep I need, what my meal plan looks like, etc.
Your goals must be specific, and also realistic– if you are benching 100lb right now and want to bench 300lb in two months, you may need to rethink that time frame. Your goals need to be measurable (not just a number on a scale), and you need an action plan, which hopefully your coach can help you with. I think writing down your goals and telling friends and family about them not only helps make them a reality and holds you accountable, but hopefully develops your support network as well. Lastly, set a date! Freddy and I give ourselves short, medium and long-term goals, we reassess, and if we don’t hit them, we adjust our plan (ie: our ‘process’ goals).
I realize this sounds like a lot of work, and quite often people have enough on their plates with their family and work responsibilities. So this is where keeping your goals realistic and maintainable comes into play. If training full-time, multiple times a day, like a CrossFit Games athlete isn’t realistic for you, then setting a goal to make it to the Games isn’t realistic either. But don’t sell yourself short in your goals, just know that they don’t happen overnight and they take consistent, hard work that usually isn’t glamorous.
Lastly, it helps to identify why you want to achieve these goals. This will help you during those hard days when everything seems to be working against you. Speaking from experience, this will also help you when you are injured, and sometimes find it hard to stay positive and excited about progress, no matter how small it seems. If competing isn’t for you, how about lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure? Or lowering the amount of medication you need?
Remember, once you have identified your ‘outcome’ goals, iron out your ‘performance’ goals to match those, and then the ‘process’ goals are really the meat and potatoes of it all. To achieve your goals, as the Juggernaut article explains, you will have to put in the work, aka respect the process and the grind. If everything goes as planned, you should meet your ‘performance’ goals, and if all goes well, hopefully you will knock your ‘outcome’ goals out of the park!
It can be tough work, but goal setting is worth your time if you are serious about your performance. For more specific help on your goal setting, feel free to contact Jen or Freddy through firstname.lastname@example.org or the Contact Form on the ‘Contact’ page of this website.