Sunday and Goal Setting for 2016
Tough Love: Goal Setting for the New Year By Oke CrossFit URSA
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“New Year’s resolutions are about as effective as a cat covering shit on a tin roof.” That’s an old saying my father used around me quite a bit as I was growing up. Well, actually it was, “That’ll keep you busier than …”—you get the point. Despite how traditionally necessary or incredibly cliché New Year’s resolutions may seem to you, I love them! New Year’s resolutions put people in front of the mirror and force them to ask a terribly hard question, “how can I make myself better next year?” If your answer is not in the form of a SMART goal, chances are you’ll be as close to achieving this year’s resolution as a cat is to covering shit on a tin roof. Coach’s Note: A tin roof has nothing for a cat to cover shit with. Therefore, it will not get covered. Therefore, the cat is very ineffective, and kept very busy… just like a person without SMART goals.
Your goal must be specific. Don’t’ just say, “I want to be healthier this year.” Say, “I will loose fat.” There are an infinite number of ways one can improve their health, choose one way that means the most to you. Never say what you want or what you wish, say what will happen. Wants and wishes are for those who are accustomed to not achieving; as long as you remain in that mindset you will never be strong enough to command your future.
Your goal must be quantified. If your goal is to improve your flexibility, then you can measure your progress by how close your fingers are to touching the ground when you bend over straight-legged. Here’s a tough goal to measure, and one most Americans can relate to: I will reduce my stress levels. Although it’s nearly impossible for the average person to accurately measure their stress levels on a day-to-day basis, especially since heart rate is the culmination of many factors, it is possible for us to measure factors that directly relate to stress management such as sleep. So, your specific and measureable goal is now: I will get at least 6.5 hours of sleep per night in order to reduce my stress. Goals must be objectively measured. A subjective measurement is taking note of how one “feels”. Although reflection and self-assessment is useful in certain lights, subjective measurements are not useful when it comes to evaluating your goal’s progress and deciphering correlations and impacts from secondary drivers.
My favorite part of creating your SMART goal is assigning the goal. When it comes to your New Year’s resolution, you need to decide who is going to be assigned to achieve it, and more importantly who will be responsible for all the things attributable to the goal. So ask yourself, “Who is going to be responsible for me eating better this year?” Crickets? I hope not! Listen, one person and one person only is driving this bus and that person is YOU! You will achieve this goal and you are responsible for all factors affecting this goal, that’s why your goal starts with “I will …”. Oh, you couldn’t get out of bed and make it to the 5:30 am class because you were sleepy? Well, you need to plan your evenings better so that you can get to bed on time. Oh, you have a hard time eating healthy because your spouse doesn’t want to give up unhealthy food? Well, get on the internet and find healthy recipes that they DO like. Look, I didn’t say, “chose the goal that is easy for you to obtain,” I said, “choose one way [of improving your health] that means the most to you.” The goal will be very hard to achieve; you will either bask in the glory of achievement or wallow in the despair of failure. Either way, you are 100% responsible. Everyone is capable of finding the river Excuse; very few are willing to search for the bridge Overcome. * CFF Side note - A is also more often used to stand for attainable/achievable/Action Oriented. Describe your goal with action verbs, and outline the exact smaller steps along the way that will get you to your goal.
Do you want to look good in your bikini/banana hammock? Me too! But, lets get real; we’ve only got 365 days and we’re only willing to go so far. Typically, keeping your goal realistic refers to just that. However, I like to take this a step further by forcing us to decide what things we have control over and what things we have MORE control over. For example, lets say our goal is, “I will lose 52lbs of body-fat.” Although we are in control of losing that fat, we are in more control of managing our nutrition, sleep, and exercise—factors directly causing loss in body fat. Losing fat is the end result, but managing factors is what we have absolute control over. So, our realistic goal can now be changed to: “I will sleep at least 6.5 hours per night, eat clean for 20 out of 21 meals per week, and CrossFit 5 out of 7 days per week in order to lose 52lbs of body fat.” Any dummy can see what kind of goal is realistic or not. But, it takes some real thought in order to weed out what factors one has absolute control over.
Our goals need to be put on a deadline, or else we will perpetually procrastinate. For example, “I will loose 52lbs of body fat within one year.” Once we add a time component to our goal, it can become scary and at times feel far away. We had a little saying in the Marine Corps, “small victories,”—I told you it was little. Long-term goals need to be divided into short and medium-term goals. For most of us, losing 52lbs of body-fat in one year is a long-term goal. Therefore, a short-term goal can be weekly related and a medium-term goal can be monthly related. Hell, we can even have daily goals. So, now our goal looks like this: “I will sleep at least 6.5 hours every night (daily time oriented), eat clean 20 out of 21 meals per week (short-term oriented), and CrossFit 5 out of 7 days per week (short-term oriented) in order to lose 4.4lbs of body-fat per month (medium-term oriented), 52lbs within one year.” Many people may recognize this way of breaking down a goal as utilizing benchmarks. Including benchmarks within your goal makes your goal all the more specific. With small victories, large wars are won.