Fitness goals are also of great importance, especially to people like you who have decided to make fitness a part of your lives. Motivation is directly linked to having something you are working toward. An example is running: I really don't like to run long distances. I find it boring (no offense to you runners out there this is just an example.) My hate of running notwithstanding, I set a goal to run a half marathon. I registered for the event so my goal had a time line to it. I was then compelled to do my running workouts because I knew come race day, I was going to have to put up or shut up. Eventually, I worked up to completing a half marathon at an 8:00 mile pace, which for me is incredible (although very average among real runners.). And believe it or not, I actually got to where I enjoyed my runs.
Flash forward to today, with no running goal on the horizon, I again suck at running, I find it boring, and I've maybe run a 5k three or four times since my last race (which was in November of last year). The point is, having a specific and time sensitive goal in mind directed my fitness efforts toward that end with relative success.
A few errors I've seen with fitness goals are one, not writing them down, and two, not putting your time and effort into achieving your goals. A goal not written down is just a dream or a wish. We have a giant board at The Compound with goals for each 3-month period. With the goal written down, you are reminded of them every time you come to the gym. Other people know about them and can help hold you accountable. This type of motivation can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals.
Putting time and effort into your goal is paramount. I can write all the goals down I want, but a written goal not worked toward will never be reached. It's like trying to navigate a canoe down a river with no paddle. Our CrossFit program (the river current) will take you somewhere, but you won't reach your desired destination (your goals) without putting in the effort to direct yourself to that destination (paddling the canoe).
SoCal Strength and Conditioning had a great post about goal setting. The following is from their site:
Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific - A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six "W" questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, "Get in shape." But a specific goal would say, "Join a health club and workout 3 days a week."
Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as......How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable - When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Timely - A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there's no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? "Someday" won't work. But if you anchor it within a time frame, "by May 1st", then you've set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
T can also stand for Tangible - A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
That post says it pretty well. I would add that goals can and should be segmented to help achieve a much broader goal. If I want to bench press 200 lbs eventually, and I can only bench press 100 lbs now, I'll set an incremental goal that works me toward my overall goal. I might make my goal by September 30th to bench press 125 lbs. It sounds much easier to achieve, gives me a time frame, gets me 25% of the way toward my broader goal of benching 200 lbs.
But if we just follow the posted WODs and do nothing specific for our goals, will we get them? Maybe, maybe not. After you decide something you really want to achieve, get with a coach and figure out what you can do to achieve it. Always work that particular goal into your warm ups, substitute a push press day for a bench press day (if bench is your goal). Don't just hope it happens; make it happen! And we are here to help you!
Lastly, some people say that they don't care about fitness goals, they just want to lose weight, or "tone up". Both are worthy causes, but I would argue that they are byproducts of achieving fitness goals rather than goals themselves. Reread the post called "Form Follows Function" for more on that. The bottom line is if I do the work in the gym, in the kitchen (nutritionally), and in the bed (I mean sleep and recovery you sickos) to reach my fitness goals, the more arbitrary goals of "losing weight" or "toning up" will happen as well.
Don't get discouraged if you don't achieve one of your goals by the due date. I got two out of my three this last three months. the 400 score on the Swat Op Gone Bad still eludes me, so I will carry it over to the next quarter. But to be completely honest with myself, I don't want a 400 score on that WOD. I just don't. Why you ask? If I really, truly wanted a 400 score I would have done everything in my power get it. The fact that I allowed other things to take up the bulk of my fitness time, means it really wasn't that important to me.
This week we have 4 more days to reach the goals the YOU said were important to you. What have you done to work towards them? How much time did you spend? Were they really that important or are you letting the current take you wherever it wants? Think about the goals for this next quarter. Make them meaningful to you, talk to a coach a come up with a game plan. Ask anyone who's knocked a few goals off of that board at the gym. Few things will get you motivated like achieving a previously unattainable goal. bc