You can’t go through life simply wishing for improvement. You must take ownership and plan accordingly. That is what goal setting is all about.
In the year 2012, I set 12 monthly goals for myself, ranging from health and fitness, to reading, writing, to spiritual growth. I have read that it takes 30 days to incorporate a new habit, so I set the outrageous expectation of accomplishing twelve life-changing behaviors in as many months.
I succeeded in achieving eight of the twelve goals. That was how I lost 35 pounds, went Paleo and discovered CrossFit. The fact of the matter is, if I had not deliberately set a course for those written goals, it is unlikely I would have been focused enough to achieve any of them. In the past seventeen months I have learned a great deal about discipline and goals.
How does all this apply to everyday life? Well, I have known for months that May 2013 was going to be very hectic and stressful for me in my job, with several large and visible projects all converging at the same time. In the past, such stress would have consumed me and left me a mental and physical wreck. At one point during this period I went 24 consecutive days without a day off from work. But I used CrossFit as my constant during the month of May, to prevent burnout.
During the month of May I made a point to take control of what I could control, such as nutrition, rest and exercise. Regarding what I couldn’t control, I strived to remain either flexible or ambivalent. I took no ownership of that which was beyond my control or influence. I wasn’t looking to be a superhero, I was just looking for a way to cope with too many things all happening simultaneously.
To provide a much needed diversion from all this work-related stress, I decided to declare a challenge to myself. That challenge was to achieve Ten PRs in the month of May. You may recall my excitement on May 8th, when I achieved three PRs in a single day.
So here is the list of CrossFit PR goals that I set for the month of May and the dates when I achieved them.
- Deadlift – was 220# – PR 230# May 8
- Back Squat – was 165# – PR 175# May 8
- Strict Press – was 75# – PR 90# May 8
- Front Squat – was 125# – PR 130# May 13
- Bench Press – was 95# – PR 115# May 14
- Snatch – was 75# – PR 90# May 15
- Push Press – was 95# – PR 105# May 17
- Power Clean – was 105# – PR 120# May 17
- Jumping Rope – was 42 Single Unders – PR 49 S.U. May 18th
- Clean & Jerk – was 100# – PR 105# May 21st
As I have compiled this list, I was shocked to see that all of these PRs were actually accomplished within a two-week period. This has been a good month for me and challenging myself has helped to keep me focused on how much I have progressed in the 9 months I have been doing CrossFit. I still have so much to learn. Some of my goals for the year include deadlifting 250# and back squatting my body weight 195#.
To do so, I must devote time to improving my form. For example, as the weight goes up, my Jerks morph into Presses. Improving my Mobility will also be key to further progress. As I study Kelly Starrett’s tome on the subject, I will set a series of specific goals in that discipline as well.
Another area for improvement is running. For years I had been trained to land on my heel. Now running is a dreaded activity as I still heel-strike on every stride. It beats the tar our of me from my feet to my neck. Furthermore, I have little aerobic capacity from years of heart medication suppressing my heart rate. Man, I have a long way to go!
As I am rejoicing about these personal milestones, I want to thank my Cf2a family who has been so patient, encouraging and supportive, and who keep pushing me forward. Though I am pleased to be progressing, the more I do, the more I know there remains to be done. That is a humbling reality that I believe we have in common.
Set goals. Be purposeful. Be Defiant! Be Well!