“By August 15th, I am going to complete a 185 pound snatch, and a 227 pound clean & jerk.”
You may not know exactly what that means, but in this case it isn’t important. What is key here is that I’m telling you that I will do it. Next time you see me in the gym, ask me how I’m doing with my goal and make sure that I’m getting closer every day. I’m going to be real embarrassed if I have to tell you that I haven’t made any progress, or, even worse am now further away than when I started.
Having a goal that is specific and measurable is crucial to improving ourselves consistently and being held responsible for putting in the necessary work. TELLING OTHER PEOPLE about your goal exponentially increases your chances of achieving what you set out to do.
But why is this? Why do I have to tell everyone that I want to hit certain numbers in the Olympic lifts? Because now I am accountable. I know that if I don’t reach this goal, I’m still going to have many people asking me about if I did it or not and each and every time I will have to feel the sting and the pain of defeat. For me, admitting that I wasn’t able to hit the numbers that I wanted would be awful. I have old college buddies all around the country who know about my goal and would love nothing more than to tell me all about how I couldn’t do it.
These goals also aren’t required to be months long and thoroughly planned out. Which brings us to this past Saturday. Most Saturdays, Coach Ryan and I try to get to the gym early to get a workout in before Savage Saturday begins (which is usually motivational enough for just about anything). I had a workout planned that would normally take me a little under two hours. I didn’t have that kind of time on this occasion, so Ryan set the timer for 45 minutes and told me I better get to work. I’ll admit at first I kind of shrugged it off and laughed at the thought of actually completing it in that time. Working out next to him brings a certain kind of motivation, but I thought he was absolutely crazy to think I could get this done in that kind of time.
As I was moving along with much less rest time than normal, I realized I had a pretty good pace and could possible finish in time if I kept working hard. This had me thinking back to my college days when writing a semester-long project seemed impossible but somehow would accomplish it the day before it happened to be due. We as humans somehow get much better when we set a hard deadline. That is why these goals have to be time-sensitive, to force you to be accountable and finish on time.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym can be really helpful for setting your goals. It stands for:
Specific: What is it that you actually want to accomplish?
Measurable: Is it an easy yes or no to decide if your goal was achieved?
Achievable: Aim high while also making sure it is realistic.
Relevant: Does this goal make sense for me?
Time Sensitive: A date looming on the calendar is the ultimate accountability.
Use these criteria to help set you up for success in reaching your goal. Get a piece of paper and you should be able to check off each letter of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym when setting your goal. Retool and adjust the wording of your goal until it is S.M.A.R.T. Find people who will hold you accountable and help you in any way that they can. You’ll be surprised as to how much someone is willing to do for you when you announce to them your goals and show them how badly you want it. Tell your coaches, tell your neighbors, tell your dog, and they’ll be there when you need them most.
So what can we take away from this? Here is a homework assignment for everyone:
- Decide what it is that you really want to do.
- Set a goal as specific as possible, and make sure you can measure it. Put a date on the calendar and know that you have to reach it by that day.
- Tell everyone you’ve ever met and even some people you don’t know what you are going to do, why you want to do it so badly, and when you are going to do it.
- Crush your goal, celebrate for a day and rub it in peoples faces, then go and set a new goal and crush that too.
By the way, I did end up finishing that workout on time, with a little extra work in the final minutes of the 45-minute time cap. My legs didn’t really work afterwards and I created a sweat pool big enough for the dogs to go swimming, but I finished. Go out and crush your goals today.
Need help changing YOUR habit? Here are some tips.