Many people start CrossFit with a basic goal: get fit. As they continue with it, they realize that there are many aspects of “fitness” and that improving their overall fitness requires focus on a particular area or even exercise. A good example are doubleunders … making that skipping rope go under your feet twice in one jump seems impossible for many when they first encounter them in a workout.
Greg Amundson, one of the original fire breathers in CrossFit, has become a huge resource to the CrossFit community in the area of goal setting. In addition to extensively publishing articles and videos on the subject, CrossFit HQ now has him providing the CrossFit Goal Setting Trainer Course that you sign up for in the same way you sign up for a CrossFit Olympic Lifting Trainer Course or a CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer Course.
Setting goals are as important as Gymnastics and Olympic Lifting because without the mental side of CrossFit your improvements on the physical side will not be as great. Greg Amundson as a number of great articles in the CrossFit Journal which in my opinion are alone more than worth the $25 annual cost to subscribe to it.
Tips for Setting Your Goals
You may want to do a pull up, do 10 doubleunders, deadlift 400 pounds or run a marathon. How you frame these goals is crucial in attaining them.
In his article, Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit (July 2010), Amundson makes three great points about setting goals:
- The goal must be concise and specific – the more focused the definition, the more precise the planning, preparation and training.
- The goal must be expressed in the positive tense – the subconscious does not hear the negative so when you say to yourself “don’t stop running” your subconscious mind hears “stop running”.
- The goal must include a time frame that is challenging yet realistic and achievable – the time frame must challenge and motivate you. Setting it too far in the future will lack the urgency and “fail to create the internal fire needed for accomplishment.” Setting it too short “may lead to discouragement and despair.”
Once you have your goal, stating it publicly further improves your chances of success as it makes you more accountable. In addition, when you hit that goal, the moment is even sweeter as everyone can then celebrate with you.
Publicly stating your goals can be done by setting it with your coach or writing it up on a white board (some people even put them up on a blog or Facebook). We are going to put some up on the white board by the locker rooms. As your coaches, we can help you frame your goals, prioritize them and set the time frames in which to accomplish them.
If you look around the gym you will see “Indomitable Spirit” written on the wall. It is one of the five tenets of Taekwondo and is used to describe someone who has a very strong character and will not give up. They cannot be subdued or overcome and will keep on trying.
I have always been struck by the similarities between martial arts and CrossFit. Amundson concludes with this in his article stating that as you realize what the mind can believe the body can achieve, you will forge an indomitable spirit within you.
There is always that moment in the middle of a CrossFit workout where you question just why you are doing this to yourself and part of you wants to quit. Pushing through this makes you better. As Amundson states:
Regardless of the time to completion or the amount of weight used, simply facing the daunting workout of the day (WOD) puts the other obstacles of life into proper perspective: they are a lot easier.
Talk to your coaches about your goals and we can help you set them. This article only scratches the surface … check out some of the articles by Greg Amundson in the Journal, including:
- The Chink in My Armor (September 2009) – great article about doubleunders
- Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit (July 2010)
- Positive Self-Talk: The Greatest Adaptation (September 2010) - free download
- Positive Self-Talk: Focusing on Your Goals (October 2010)
- Positive Self-Talk: Defining Your Terms (October 2010) – free download
- Positive Self-Talk: Defining Your Destiny (November 2010) – free download