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Confessions Of A Squataholic

The Goal Is NOT Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

 Inevitably, if you’re training, whether you’ve identified or stated so or not, you have a goal; an endgame, a desired result.  Let’s talk about how to define and expand on that goal so that it works better for you and so you work better for it.

In the business world, there’s an acronym for goal setting called S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound.)  This definition can just as easily apply to any goal you set in your training.  Let’s break it down:

S – Specific – when you begin setting your training goal, ask yourself the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why.)  The first step is the “what” – what are you attempting to accomplish?  Then comes the “why” – what benefit or purpose are you working towards?  Then “who” “when” and “where” fall in – based on the specific needs you will have in order to meet your stated goal.

M – Measurable – you need to be able to measure your progress toward the goal.  With any weight related goal (weight loss, weight gain, weight lifted,) this is easily quantifiable.  When your goal is to compete(or win) in athletic competition or to gain proficiency in other skills, it becomes more difficult to quantify what you’re trying to achieve.  This is where setting milestones or smaller, stepping stone goals can be very beneficial.  If your goal is of a longer term, these stepping stone goals can not only help you quantify your progress, but also keep you motivated and training towards something immediate.

A – Attainable – ah, here’s a tough one, but a question you simply must ask yourself…am I capable, do I have or can I attain the means, physically, financially and intangibly to meet this goal?  If you can’t look in the mirror and give a resounding “yes” to this question, then you may want to reevaluate your goal.  Look, I’m still working towards my career in the NBA, but it’s looking pretty dim at 35 and 5’8”.

R – Relevant – this one is a little less applicable in the gym world than in the business world, since your goals will likely be personal in nature and have little effect on others or any other entities.  However, you can ask yourself  “does this goal matter?” “Is this the right time?” and “Does this match my other goals and needs?” – for instance, if your main goal is weight loss, increasing your bench press is not relevant to that goal.

T – Time-Bound – your goal should be grounded within a timeframe, with a target date.  This goes for the intermediate goals you set as well.  Again, heed the “A” when setting timelines…become 2014 CrossFit Games champion is not a goal that heeds the “A” for a new trainee.

If you want to make S.M.A.R.T. smarter, just add E – evaluate – evaluate where you are in terms of beginning on the road to your goal as well as periodically along the way and R – reevaluate and reward.  Reevaluate at the end of your timeframe and reward your hard work.

Use this method to set and train towards your goals and I believe you will get the maximum out of the process.  The more clear and concise your vision of what you wish to achieve is, the more clear and concise you’re able to develop a path to that achievement, and in turn, the more achievable the goal.

In all training and, well, in life in general, make it a goal to enjoy what you do day in and day out. The title of this blog post is a pun on the Aristotle quote.  Though Aristotle was philosophically correct, there is a philosophical truth in the pun as well: the reward is in the journey, not the destination.

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