"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
This quote never rings truer than around New Years, where goals (resolutions!) are made in January, and abandoned by June. Goal setting is incredibly important, and if you're not discussing your goals with your coach, make sure to get into the habit of doing so.
Goals represent improvement and achievement, but all too often these goals are non-specific and lofty. Here's an example of a non-specific goal: "I want to eat more ice cream".
Is it realistic? Sure is. Is it actionable? Not really.
When setting goals, it's best to utilize the SMART method. SMART is broken down as follows:
S- specific (or significant)
M- measurable, meaningful
A- attainable, achievable, and / or action-oriented
R- realistic / reasonable
T- time-based, trackable, tangible.
Using the SMART method, the ice cream goal above could be turned into the following: "I'd like to eat ten pints (think Ben & Jerry size- yum) of chocolate ice cream within 6 months". We were specific with the quantity and type, measurable in amount, absolutely attainable, very realistic (that's like 1.5 Ben & Jerry's a month- totally doable!), and absolutely time-based and trackable- which leads me to my next point: PROCESS GOALS.
While SMART provides the framework as to what a good goal should be, process goals are best defined as smaller, micro-level goals that keep the athlete accountable and add greatly to the success of the larger goal. Process goal setting is most important because it shows us 1) if our goal is actually achievable, and 2) allows us to track progress of our goal (and potentially adjust as time goes on), and 3) forces us to think critically about what we need to do to achieve the overall goal.
Using a different example (I think my time cap on facetiousness using ice cream has ended!), let's say an athlete of mine says "Sean, I want to put 30 pounds on my squat in 6 months".
First step is to figure out what we (the athlete and I) need to get done on a daily, weekly, and / or monthly basis to maximize your chances of success. In order to put 30 pounds on athlete X's squat, athlete X will have to eat enough food, get enough sleep, touch-base with me at least once a week, and hit the gym as many times as their program calls for. These are all controllable by the athlete, and can be used as weekly or daily process goals to stay accountable to the big goal.
Bigger process goals are the results from progress in the gym. Data don't lie. Every month, the athlete and coach should compare results at the end of the macrocycle (4 weeks of programming, typically) and see if the numbers are moving in the right direction. If we're adding 10 pounds to the projected / estimated 1 Rep Max, we know the chances of achieving that 30 pound squat gain is extremely likely. From there, the coach and athlete can either upgrade (or in some cases, downgrade) the SMART goal expectation.
In short, here are your 4 simple steps to creating a kick-ass plan to PR:
- Partner up with your coach and create a SMART goal.
- Think of and implement 3-5 process goals that are a) digestible, b) trackable, and c) realistic and d) relevant to your major goal.
- Keep yourself accountable to your goals and track them on a weekly or monthly basis.
adjust your goal based on the results / trends you see from the data you derive from your process goals.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or want to start working towards your SMART goal, email us! Info@murderofcrowsbarbell.com. I look forward to hearing your aspirations for the New Year soon! :)