You’ve probably been thinking about goals since the day you started CrossFit. Per your basics instructor’s suggestion, you might even have a page or two in your WOD journal dedicated to them. Goals are important for any CrossFitter, regardless of their skill or experience level. Goals keep us engaged and on track, and they give our workouts focus and purpose.
But not all goals are created equal. If a goal’s too vague, it’s hard to know whether or not you’ve actually achieved it. Goals that feel easy aren’t all that motivating, but goals that seem impossible are just as bad. (If “That’s never going to happen!” is always in the back of your mind, any effort you put forth will just feel like a waste of time.)
To make sure your goals are working for you and not against you, hold them up against the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.
Specific – “Get in shape” can mean anything. But you know exactly what “Do 5 strict pull-ups unbroken” and “Get to the box three days a week” look like in action. Avoid vague statements and focus on specific skills or behaviors.
Measurable – CrossFit is filled with metrics, so creating measurable goals is pretty easy. You can quantify goals by time (“Shave 30 seconds off my Fran time”), weight (“Back squat 175 lbs.”) or reps (“Do 100 unbroken double-unders”). Attaching a measurement to a goal helps you know when you’ve actually achieved it.
Achievable – A goal should challenge you, but it should also feel like it’s within the realm of possibility. Otherwise, it’s easy to dismiss , or you could get discouraged. Sure, “Win the CrossFit Games” is an achievable goal… but only for a handful of athletes. Your goal should feel like a stretch, but you should also be able to map out a realistic path to accomplishing it.
Relevant – Ask yourself if your goal is relevant to your current level of fitness, strength and skill. For example, “Do 3 unbroken muscle-ups” is a great goal. But, if you’re struggling to break parallel in a squat, or you can’t run 800 meters without feeling winded, muscle-ups shouldn’t be your priority.
Time-Bound – Projects without deadlines tend to drag on forever. Same thing goes for goals without timelines. For example, if you want to add 20 lbs. to your snatch, give yourself six months to hit that goal. Keep yourself on track by dividing that 20 lb. goal into sub-goals; aim for a 5 lb. increase every six weeks.
Got a S.M.A.R.T. goal? Write it down! Preferably in a place where your peers will see it so that they can help hold you accountable. Like the whiteboard at the box! Or the comments section of this article!