GPF: Establishing Proper Goals

Welcome to “Guest Post Friday”! I will be featuring posts from individuals who have solid input about the mental side of fitness, training, and life. I tend to gravitate towards witty and honest posts, that give you tips and advice.

Check out this post from Overland Park CrossFit


The Mental Game of CrossFit: Establishing Proper Goals

This post really applies to more than just CrossFit.  Establishing goals is one of the most important factors in achieving success in whatever pursuit you choose.  Is it smart to go to the grocery store with no idea what you are going to buy?  Probably not, since you’ll end up spending more money and buying the wrong things.  If you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to go, how likely is it that you’re going to get there?

As you guys, the Overland Park CrossFit family, begin your CrossFit journey, it’s important to be more aware of WHAT you want, so you can maintain focus on HOW to get there.  There’s a lot of talk about goal setting and its importance, but let’s make sure we focus on the right things and approach goals in the right way, so that we can better motivate ourselves, focus our physical and mental energies, and achieve what we want.  After all, our goal is to train optimally, so why not set our goals optimally too?

The first aspect of goal setting is to establish realistic, reachable goals.  If I don’t have a single strict pullup, I probably shouldn’t focus on getting 30 unbroken strict pullups in two weeks — it’s unattainable in that timeframe and will just lead to discouragement, frustration, and a loss of motivation.

The flipside of this is that you need to set goals that will push you outside of your comfort zone and will challenge you.  They should push you towards your limits.  You should be taking risks without fear of failure, and if you make a dedicated effort to reach your goals, you will probably not only reach them, but blast past them too!


Here are some planning tips for setting and achieving your goals:

* The goal must be specific and concise.
i.e I want to get my first unassisted pullup.

* Eliminate “Don’t” and “I Gotta” The goal must be expressed in the positive tense.
i.e I want get a muscleup (vs. I don’t want to get stuck on the rings or I gotta get up on those rings).

* The goal must include a time frame that is challenging yet realistic and achievable.
i.e I want to get my first unassisted pullup in the next 30 days. Setting unrealistic goals will just lead to anxiety and disappointment.  Overall success is the accumulation of smaller victories!

* The goal must provide you with genuine and deep inspiration, motivation and direction.
You should really want to achieve the goal you set.  It should drive you and focus your efforts every day.

Note: These goals don’t have to apply to a specific CrossFit exercise, they can apply to quality of life, weight loss, etc — but they should somehow to be linked to your training, nutrition, recovery, mobility, etc

Now that you’ve started your goal planning, let’s dig a little deeper so that we can not only jump over the bar we set, but clear it by 40 feet!

* Clear Out the Self Doubt
You can’t PR every day.  Some days you come in the gym and feel like you could conquer the world, other days you might be sore, stressed from work, or didn’t eat well that day.  Do NOT start negative self-talk “Why can’t I lift that today? Am I not good enough?”  Not all days are created equal so chalk it up to that, keep your confidence, and smash it the next day

* Don’t Hope, Believe
Hoping for something means it’s out of your control.  Believing in something means you feel it is attainable and you know you can get there.

* Be Willing to Take Risks
Pushing yourself reasonably outside of your comfort zone is the only way to achieve and surpass your goals and get the results you want.  Don’t fear failure, embrace the challenge.  If you plan your goals smartly, you should have the utmost confidence you will crush them!

* Small Victories
Set mini-goals within your larger goal.  If you want to be able to squat 100 more pounds than you currently can, you should be fired up when you hit the 20, 40, and 60 marks.  These are real and measurable ways you know you are on the right path

* Be an Energy Giver, not an Energy Taker — Help Others Achieve for Your Own Success
This is one that probably deserves a post of its own, but one of the best coaches I’ve ever met told me there are two types of players: Energy Givers and Energy Takers.  Energy Givers create a positive environment around them and know that helping others achieve their goals will help them achieve their personal ones.  Energy Takers are self-centered and only focused on improving themselves, even at the expense of their teammates.  You guys are part of the OPCF team, your success is tied to everyone else’s success.  Helping others achieve will enhance your personal successes.

* Make Your Goals Limited in Number and Compatible
It is good to have multiple goals, just make sure they link together well and don’t interfere with each other.  If you do have multiple goals, keep the list short.  Once you check one off, you can always make more!

* Prioritize!
Really sit down to reflect on your goals and determine what is the most important to you and WHY.

* Write it down, Refer to it Regularly, and Make Honest Assessments!
Putting pen to paper (or a Word document or whatever!) will encourage your commitment to your goals.  If you take the time to seriously think about your goals and write them down in a way that is meaningful to you, it will be an invaluable resource you can always refer to and lean if you ever lose focus.  Make sure you are honest with yourself about the way you are attacking your goals!

* Focus on Process over Result
In the short term, you can do all the right things and still not have the best results. There are things outside of your control that can affect results. Just know that if you are doing the right things day-in and day-out (nutrition, training, mobility, recovery, etc) you WILL achieve your goals over time!

* Communicate with your coaches!
It doesn’t matter what sport you play or what industry you’re in, communicating effectively with your coaches is vital to successfully reaching your goals. Having a strong support system in the form of the Overland Park CrossFit community and the coaching staff will allow you to squelch that self-doubt and keep you pushing towards your goals.


This post was originally posted on Overland Park CrossFit Blog. They have a bad ass website and if you’re ever in the Overland Park Kansas area, stop by and check out the box! Connect with them on Facebook & Twitter 

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3 thoughts on “GPF: Establishing Proper Goals

  • Dan

    All excellent tips … as long as you break up a seemingly impossible outcome into the steps that must come before its realization, things become easier when you realize that you ascend a staircase one step at a time instead of leaping from one floor to the next in a single bound.

  • Dr. Adam Kipp

    Awesome blog!! This is my first time here at mentalitywod and I love the concept. As a health and wellness professional I’m always looking for new and fresh ideas. A WOD for the mind… brilliant! So much of our expression of health is between the ears and understanding the power of the mind and how if affect everything… positive or negative. I look forward to reading more blogs. Thanks!