2nd November 2015
Goal setting and maintaining focus.
Goal setting is the single best way to achieving your goals bar none. Some people do this naturally, some need to really sit and think what the next goal is but either way, it is essential to success. This is not just for CrossFit, but can be related to every day life. It can provide clarity and focus, not just for now, but for the future.
So here is some guidance on how to set your own goals for success.
Work out where you want to be.
This is important as it gives you an overall goal to keep in the back of your mind. This may be a qualifier or an event, or even three years down the line but most importantly this should not be your focus. I once came across a book called, ‘Zen in the Martial arts’. A lot of its passages had a profound effect on me at the time. One story was about a student and his master taking a long walk. The conversation went like this…
“Master, if I focus my training twice a day, fives days a week, how long will it take me to achieve excellence?
‘10 years’ came the answer.
‘Master, what if I trained 3 times per day, every single day? How long will it take me then?’
’15 years’ came the answer.
“Master, I’ll train all day, day and night if I have to. How long will it take me then?’
“20 years!!’ replied the master.
‘Master, why is it that every time I say I’ll train more and more you say it will take me longer to achieve excellence?’
‘Because, when you have one eye focused on your destination, you only have one eye left, with which to find the way’
I felt this was an excellent interpretation of being realistic with your goals. You should always focus on what is nearly achievable to you. If you don’t have a pullup yet and you’re dreaming of your first muscleup, you’ll never take the right steps/progressions to get there. I always liken it to rungs on a ladder as you climb. Your next goal should be the rung you’re just about to grab but here’s the important bit… you need to move that rung just before you get there. This is something I learnt early on in my basketball career. I would get myself to a level where I wanted to be and then lose focus. I realised that I needed to constantly adjust my goals in order to keep climbing the ladder of success.
Here are the golden rules of goal setting, and the acronym SMART holds as much weight now as it did 200 years ago.
Specific. The beauty of CrossFit is that it is extremely measurable. In fact, it is the most measureable form of fitness that has ever existed. Being specific with your goals is essential because it also gives clarity and focus. Instead of your overall goal of ‘losing weight’, you can be specific with saying, ‘I want to lose 2lb per week’
Measurable. As touched on above, to measure something accurately can give you an exact measure of the rate of improvement and as such, track your progress. The quantifiable characteristic of CrossFit is unique and should be exploited.
Achievable. As with the master and his student, if your goals are unrealistic to where you are now, you’ll always feel disappointed and feel like you’re not achieving where in fact, there is much to celebrate.
Realistic. This and Achievable are really the same thing but make sure your goals are realistic to you and not where you think you should be.
Time bound. Set yourself a realistic date for what you want to achieve. This could be weekly, monthly or even longer but putting a deadline on your goals can really drive your training forward.
Another good saying is:
and be the hardest worker in the room”