After establishing your purpose for embarking on a training plan, the next step is to set a few goals for yourself. Goal setting will help to focus and direct your efforts, increase productivity, improve accountability to your training, and align your behaviors for success. Not to mention achieving a goal that we set for ourselves goes a long way towards boosting our self-confidence by tasting success.
Less is more when it comes to goal setting. The fewer goals that you have for yourself, the more focused your efforts become and your likelihood of goal achievement increases. I like to always have one weight-room based goal and one conditioning goal. If you are a fitness enthusiast without any performance goals, a body composition goal may be all you need. When setting your goals make sure you abide by the S.M.A.R.T acronym, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If your goal meets those 5 criteria than you are on the right track.
Ideally we should have both outcome goals and behavioral goals. An outcome goal is a result, a behavioral goal is the action needed to achieve your desired outcome. An outcome goal may be to back squat 500lbs or run a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. Behavioral goals that may help you reach the above mentioned outcome goals would be to start squatting twice per week and performing sprint workouts 3 times per week. Since everyone’s athletic potential is a little different and we progress at different rates, outcomes goals can often be a challenging pursuit. So that we don’t feel like a failure if the outcome goal is not achieved, we should pay closer attention to our behavior goals. The behavioral goals are the actions that were required to reach our desired outcome. If you put in the work that you needed to and came up a little short on your outcome goals, you didn’t fail. You just may need a little more time before those outcome goals are reached.
When you have your idea for a goal in mind, make sure to set a short and long-term goal. Using the above example of a 500lbs back squat goal, the 500lbs back squat may be a long-term goal if you are currently only back squatting 400lbs. Reaching 500lbs on the back squat may be a year or more away. To help you reach that long-term goal that is seemingly so distant, set short-term goals to pace your progress. If you challenge yourself to improve your back squat by just 10lb per month, it makes the long-term goal seem less daunting and gives you something to go after in the immediate future.
Brainstorm a few S.M.A.R.T goals for yourself, so we can start narrowing your training focus. Up next, we’ll be going over how to develop a long-term training plan.