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Hashtag Goals

A take on goal-setting and a workout to take on the road

I’ve always struggled with goal-setting. And by that, I mean the term itself. It’s very jargon-y. I’m not doubting its importance and I know I do a lot of this for myself, but, for me, I frame it a bit differently. My way of setting goals is to set parameters around what I sure as hell will not do. I set time-sensitive challenges to hold me accountable while also help me achieve certain results or “goals”. And I write it down. Write it down, write it down, write it down. Somewhere. Anywhere.

In January of last year I did a 30 day challenge with my friend, Nate. It was 200 pushups a day. In February, we added 100 kettlebell swings. It sucked. But Nate was there to push me and send me reminders when he finished his and I more often than not slacked on mine. I have the notes on my iPhone to prove it. 20 push-ups here, 10 there, another 30 over there. Whatever it took.

Why does anyone sign up for races? It’s the pressure. The commitment. Not only to yourself, but to whoever now knows that you signed up for, even paid, to do something. It’s the “oh shit, I’m actually doing this” moment that leads more importantly, to the plan now that needs to be set and held to in order to achieve said goal.

Maybe for me, goal-setting was always hard because I would hit the goal and think, “neat… now what?” I’d achieve the “thing” and wonder what to do next.

Now. There are a few things to read between the lines here. One is that I have, and still, struggle to take a second the calm the f down long enough to appreciate and be proud of what I have accomplished. The other lesson, and maybe one that is a no brainer to some, is that it’s not about the end game at all. It’s about the days, hours, and weeks leading up to it. It’s about the grind. The early mornings and long days. The pain, agitation, and emotions that kept you going and maybe caused you to almost quit. The magic is in the process. And the cool thing about that is, the process never really ends. Okay, so you ran that race or hit that goal weight. Good. Time to get better, re-focus, and get after it again.

Most recently, I joined a 6 week long “Open Combine” program through my CrossFit gym. This 6 weeks was designed to prepare us for the Open. In the CrossFit world, the open is comprised of 5 challenging workouts over 5 weeks. The purpose of the Open is to compete with yourself, with others, and to test yourself, both physically and mentally. While encouraging and cheering along a crazy group of fit psychopaths who genuinely want to see you crush it. Elite CrossFit athletes can continue to progress and make their way to what is called, the CrossFit Games.

But for someone like me, I just wanted an opportunity to get better. To get stronger. To work on skills that scared me. To help me defeat my mentally defeating thoughts. And I needed help. Someone to coach me through the skills, and be there to yell at me when I was being a little wuss. Coach needed a coach.

I’ll be honest, I rarely go into a physical activity with a hard goal in mind. Sure, I have ideas of how fast I want to run a mile or how heavy I think I can squat. But I am not that person that holds myself to the millisecond or within the nearest pound of anything. And I wish I did. I should to. And I will. I think it’s important to know your capabilities. You need to know who you are and what you can do right now in order to test it. Life is a test. Some of us want to test it, fail, and get better. While others are cool being complacent.

Don’t be cool with complacency.

You’re better than that.

For me, this six weeks has helped me do that. It’s helped both my mental and physical game. In the six weeks, I stopped being scared of barbell snatches. I can do bar muscle ups. And double-unders are finally being achieved in more than sets of 2-5.

So tell me, friends. Do you practice goal-setting in regards to your workouts and healthy routine? Do you go into more workouts saying “I’m going to leave it all right here and I don’t care who sees it?” Or is it “don’t expect a lot from me, guys, I’m not feeling it today?”

Write it down. What it is. Whatever you want to do, feel, achieve, create.

Write down your weekly workout intentions. This doesn’t need to extremely specific. A simple – Monday: CrossFit, Tuesday: Cardio, Wednesday: Rest day – is all I’m throwing out there. Again, on a personal note, this 6 weeks I did also made me re-think my weekly workouts so that I could be rested and prepared for them. The workouts took place on Sundays and I learned the hard way the importance of letting my body rest and refuel to feel good and ready for these workouts. Around week 3 I had to re think when my rest days would be and how to set myself up for success on Sundays. And yes, I wrote it down.

My challenge to you: Write out your week of workouts ahead. Tell someone about it and hold yourself to it. Maybe throw in your own 30 day challenge with a friend as well and keep yourselves going. It seems so simple, but my goodness is it impactful.

Simple. Not easy.

The keys to life. All of them. Are just that.

Simple. NOT easy.

And just for fun. Here’s a little total body workout to get your heart going when you need something to do at home or on the road:

For time chipper:

  • 100 total high knees
  • 90 jumping jacks
  • 80 total forward lunges
  • 70 crunches
  • 60 air squats
  • 50 total mountain climbers
  • 40 tricep dips – side of bench/bed/chair
  • 30 push ups
  • 20 high to low plank
  • 10 burpees

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