The Importance of Goals…

I want to lose weight
I want to be healthy
I want to throw 98mph
I want to go to the CrossFit Games
I want to win Gold at the World Championships
These are all goals, decently defined ones at that too.
People often ask me how my high level athletes got to be so successful. They ask what I do differently with them as opposed to the person asking the question.
I’ll answer the last question first – I don’t do anything different with the high level athletes vs the general population. I serve a role as coach to both groups of people. I’m a friend, confidant, teacher, leader, advisor, mentor, counselor, psychologist, programmer, nerd, motivator, therapist, listener…
Now back to the first question – how? Simple: they set very specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound GOALS. Once those are set, they consistently put one foot in front of the other to achieve those goals.
That bears repeating another way:

  1. They set SMART goals
  2. They are consistent in working towards them

Up at the top of the post, I carefully chose my words “these are all goals, decently defined ones at that too.” I did that to draw attention to the fact that while those do seem like well thought out goals, they serve more as a starting point than an end. They can, and should, be much more clearly defined.
The thing about goals is they have to have six components to really be effective. I’ve written blogs about this before, but its worth repeating quickly here:
S – specific (ex: if you want to “be healthy”, what does that mean?)
M – measurable (ex: how much weight do you want to lose?)
A – attainable (ex: saying you want to be an olympic swimmer when you can’t even swim means it probably ain’t in the cards for ya…)
R – relevant (ex: if you’re training to be a soccer player, theres no need to practice throwing a baseball)
T – time bound (ex: WHEN will you achieve this goal? Not “in a few months”…what day specifically?)
Then comes the hard part, actually taking action toward achieving them.
Oh, you’re probably wondering where the sixth component of goals is, right? Here’s it is: you need to have an emotional attachment to it. This means that its something that gets you riled up, stirs passion from deep within to keep you going when the going gets tough. This piece makes sure you have “skin in the game”, that its something worth fighting for, something that is for YOU.
But here’s the reality – everyone, even CrossFit Games competitors and gold-medal-winning World Champions in weightlifting come across “life” that threatens to derail them. What do I mean by life?
Sick Kids
Holiday Parties
Surprise family visits
Eating out
Lack of money
Gym being closed
Moving homes
Wreck slowing down your morning commute
Long days at the office
Election results (wait, did I just go there?)
Being tired
Death in the family
Bad breakup
Work got in the way
TV shows
Bad luck
Training in austere environments
Not getting enough sleep
Feeling lazy
Feeling defeated
Lacking confidence
Scared of the workout
Lack of time
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You know what I mean yet? All these things that people constantly use as an excuse for why they aren’t getting what they want in life – reasons why they can’t make it to the gym or eat well.
All that stuff is life.
And all that stuff is a part of everyone’s life!
The people who are the most successful in the world, who achieve their goals, who capture their dreams, are no different than you or I. They just don’t let any of that stuff, “life”, get in the way of them getting what they want. They know its just part of the journey…and they’re prepared to deal with those things when they do pop up. They have a plan!
It really boils down to one simple question: how badly do you want it? Achieving the goals you set for yourself won’t be easy.
I recently had three athletes reach out to me for remote coaching. They want to make it to regionals and the CF Games at some point. They each spent considerable amounts of time telling me all about the drive, passion, talent, and dedication they have for making it to the top level of the sport. Before I made a decision on whether I wanted to work with them, I asked one simple question: Are you willing to give up drinking?
(Calm down, this is not an indictment on enjoying your adult beverages.)
What the question is meant to find out is ‘are you willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to achieve your goals?’ If that answer is no, then let’s not waste each others time.
Each week, I write out programming for my 6 remote coaching athletes. At the top of each of their weekly programming sheets, you’ll see something like this:
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What does that countdown, “13 Weeks Out,” represent? The big one. The one goal that matters. The one that we spend all year…or years, working towards. One rep, one set, one session, one day, one week, one month at a time. This is the one by which all the smaller steps build towards. I do that to keep them, and myself, focused on the ultimate prize.
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Many have asked Jay and I if he’s training for the 2017 Games. Firstly, shame on me for not posting this earlier – ABSOLUTELY he is going for it again! Yippee!
But the follow-up question I always get a chuckle out of: “Oh cool, so when does he start training for it?” Um…about two weeks after we got back from the 2016 Games. Or rather, 5 months ago! He’s been in Games mode every day since.
Same goes for Shannon. After winning gold in Germany, we enjoyed it for the duration of the plane ride home…and then got down to the business of working towards her next meet the first week we were back.
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But what about YOU?

Ok, so now we need to help you come up with your goals and an action plan for achieving them. Don’t fret – your goals don’t need to be lofty performance ones, or weight loss ones, or muscle gain ones…those are all great and cool and fun…but only if they are relevant to YOU; thats what matters! Have you read any of the highlight stories of your fellow members (Allison, Mark, Rob, Stephanie, Brandon & Cassie, Veronica) who’ve achieve BIG things once they put their minds to it? We pursue and celebrate the successes that are relevant to each individual. Moving on…
I’m going to make this real easy – I’m going to lead by example and show you how its done.

  1. First, I establish my SMART goal: To meet with each and every member we have for a 30-minute goal setting session by the end of January 2017.
  2. Next, how will I achieve it? I put a link to my schedule so that each of you can book your private appointment with me for a time that is convenient for you.
  3. Lastly, how do I know when I’ve achieved it? Simple: I’ve put a checkmark next to every members name.

But wait a minute, what about the emotional part…what’s in this for me? Well thats easy – I get to help each of you set out on a path to achieve your goals.
Finally, the follow-up: Accountability is a huge thing. When more people, other than just you, know that you’re gunning for something special, a funny thing will happen: they’ll rally in your corner and keep you going.
In addition to the check-ins when we see you in class, or out and about, (or via FB stalking), I promise you this: every three months, you’ll be hearing from me to come and sit down again to see how you’re getting along. We’ll evaluate how your plan is coming together, tweak anything that needs it, and keep you moving forward.
So…what does all this cost? Only our most valuable asset: time.
Will you make the time? 2017 is just around the corner…

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