Ditch Your Goals in 2018

Ditch your goals this year? That seems like an odd statement. Aren't goals they key to staying focused and staying on track? Aren't they necessary?

Yes, but I had to use a controversial title to get you in here, didn't I? With that being said, I'm not completely lying about ditching your goals for 2018 - for some of you it still might be completely necessary, and that'ts just because you are focusing on the wrong TYPE of goal. Let me explain.

Outcome Oriented Goals

There is so much content on why and how to create goals - they need to be SMART goals, they need to be realistic, they need to be challenging yet attainable, etc. Then you need to break down the main goal into sub-goals along the way, and on and on. You all know this, so I'm not going to repeat it any more. 

But, what I find interesting, is there is very little to be read about the TYPE of goal you are setting. What do I mean by the type of goal? Aren't all goals the same? Well, yes and no. What most people think of when they set a goal is a specific outcome: I want to snatch 200lbs. I want to finish top 100 in the Open. I want to have a sub 2:30 Fran. 

Let me ask you a question - how are you supposed to break down any of those goals? For example, lets say I currently snatch 175 and my goal is 200. How do I break that down into manageable sub-goals? Add 2.5lbs every week for 10 weeks? We all know that lifting, ESPECIALLY the snatch, doesn't work like that. You could go weeks at the same weight, even see your max drop, before finally rocketing back up.

So back to the question I proposed - how do you break these down? You can't effectively break performance goals down because there is no linear path in CrossFit. This is why I titled this blog "Ditch Your Goals," because if they are outcome oriented they are unfortunately just a waste of time.  

Process Oriented Goals

The other type of goal I alluded to is a process oriented goal. I know I can't expect to add 2.5lbs to my snatch every week, but I can definitely practice my snatch technique 3x per week and work on strength 3x per week. See the difference there? Instead of focusing on the actual result/outcome, i'm focusing on the process to get to that outcome. I can't control what actually happens to my max snatch number, but I definitely can control what I am doing to work toward an outcome.

The best endorsement I can give for process oriented goals is from Katrin Davidsdottir, who said "my goal was never to win the CrossFit Games, my goal was to maximize every single day and every single training session. Winning the Games was just the result of that process." 

Another good example is weight - say you want to drop to 15% body fat. We know that our body is too volatile to simply say I want to lose 2% per month until I reach it. If you do that, and don't see the linear results you expect, you may get discouraged and quit. Conversely, if you commit to tracking your food every single day and staying within your prescribed macros 6 days out of the week, you are much more likely to reach that ultimate goal of 15% body fat. 

The other thing I LOVE about process oriented goals is that they make you think a lot more about HOW you're going to achieve something, versus just saying you want to achieve it. In my previous example about the snatch, if my goal was to add 2.5lbs per week, great, but how does that happen? When I revised it using the process oriented goal, I had to figure out exactly what I'd do to make it happen - work on strength and drill the snatch a few times per week. 

With that, I'd love to hear all of your thoughts - have you guys switched to process oriented goals yet? Have they worked better or worse for you? And why? Comment below!

January 05, 2018 by Jason Yule