Every month at my Crossfit box, we (the members) come up with our goals, and jot them down on a large whiteboard(s), that are placed around the facility. Having goals is a good way to motivate yourself to come to the box and to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Putting them on a whiteboard helps keep you accountable and reminds you of them every time you walk into the box. Goal setting can be tough, however there are some tricks you can use to ensure your goals will be achieved.
How can you make sure that you will accomplish your goals? Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Let’s say, your goal is “to get in better shape.”’ This is a pretty vague statement – what exactly does get in shape mean? With such an ambiguous term, how could you know when you’re in better shape?
To improve this goal, let’s first make it specific. Most people would say that if you can do pull-ups, you are in pretty decent shape. So you pick “to be able to do pull-ups” as your goal. You now have a specific goal.
However, how are you going to be able to measure “do pull-ups?” If you can do two pull-ups now, you’ve technically already accomplished your goal. Therefore you need to make it measurable (and more specific!) so that you can see the improvement you’ve made. If you can do two pull-ups in the beginning of the month, set a goal of three or four pull-ups at the end of the month.
You need to make sure that you set a goal that you can reach within that month. This is a short-term goal – it should only take about four weeks to reach it. So if you can currently do two pull-ups, setting a goal of twenty pull-ups in one month is a little too optimistic. Talk to your coach about how to set an attainable goal or look back in your workout journal to see how you’ve progressed. How long did it take you to get 1 pull-up and then two? That will help you determine what is a reasonable amount for which to aim.
Make sure to pick a goal that is relevant to your long-term goals. For example, if you want to be able to do 10 pull-ups by the end of 2015, you might set a goal of being able to do three pull-ups for January 2015 or completing 3 sets of 2 pull-ups every time you’re at the box.
Lastly, making your time-bound will motivate you to stay on task and work hard. Setting a goal of “four pull-ups” is great, but when do you want to have accomplished that? If you don’t set a date, you could technically work on this goal for years. Since we are talking about short-term goals, you should set a date for sometime in the fourth week of the month.
Once you’ve set a SMART goal, you need to develop a plan to accomplish this goal. This means you will have to do extra work that focuses on that goal. For example, if you want to be able to do four pullups by the end of the month, commit to doing completing two pullups three times a week for the first two weeks of the month, and then three pullups three times a week for the last two weeks of the month. This may mean that you have to come in five minutes early or stay five minutes later after class to work on your pullups. Your coach can help you develop a plan that will help you achieve your goal and make sure that your goal is feasible.