Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.  The acronym has a number of slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition for goal setting.  Goals with an action plan and benchmarks that have these characteristics are “SMART”.  A practical example some of us have experienced in our personal lives can make clear how a SMART goal can help turn hopes into actions that have results.  First, an example of not being a “SMART” goal:  I will lose weight and get in condition.  Get SMART:  Between March 15 and Memorial Day, I will lose 10 pounds and be able to run 1 mile non-stop in under 10 minutes.  SMARTer: To make the goal really “SMART,” though, we need to add an action plan and benchmarks. They make sure the goal meets the final criteria, “Time based.” They also strengthen the other criteria, especially when the benchmarks include “process” benchmarks for tracking progress on the key actions and “outcome” benchmarks that track early evidence of change and/or progress toward the ultimate goal.

Key Actions:
– wod 3 x week increase my frequency to 5 x week over the next 10 weeks.
– For process, maintain a daily record of exercise over next 10 weeks.
– For outcome measure % body composition to decrease weekly for next 10 weeks

S – specific, strategic:
Goals need to be straightforward and clearly written, with sufficient specificity to determine whether or not they have been achieved. A goal is strategic when it serves an important purpose in your life as a whole, and addresses something that is likely to have a big impact on you.

M – measurable, motivational
If we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it. What measures of quantity, quality, and/or impact will we use to determine that we’ve achieved the goal?  And how will we measure progress along the way?  Progress toward achieving the goal is typically measured through “benchmarks.” Some benchmarks focus on the process: are we doing what we said we were going to do? Other benchmarks focus on the outcome: are we seeing early signs of progress toward the results?

A – action oriented, attainable
Goals have active, not passive verbs. And the action steps attached to them tell us “who” is doing “what”.  Without clarity about what we’re actually going to do to achieve the goal, a goal is only a hope with little chance of being achieved.

R – realistic, rigorous, results-focused,
A goal makes clear what will be different as a result of achieving the goal.  A goal needs to describe a realistic, yet ambitious result. It needs to take you out of your comfort zone toward improvement, but not be out of reach. The focus and effort required to achieve a rigorous but realistic goal should be challenging, but not exhausting.  Goals set too high will discourage us, while goals set too low will leave us feeling “empty” when they are accomplished.

T – time-based, tracked
A goal needs to have a deadline.  Deadlines help all of us take action.  For a goal to be accomplished, there need to be definite times when key actions will be completed and benchmarks achieved.  Tracking the progress we’re making on our action steps (process benchmarks) is essential:  if we fall behind on doing something we said we were going to do, we’ll need to accelerate the pace on something else. But tracking progress on process outcomes isn’t enough. Our outcome benchmarks help us know whether we’re on track to achieve our goal and/or whether we’ve reached our goal.    Benchmarks give us a way to see our progress and celebrate it. They also give us information we need to make mid-course corrections.

At CFS we want you to publicly post your short and long-term goals and achievements.  The whiteboard at CFS is a place we would love to see you share your challenges and accolades. Enjoy the ride and get posting.  Remember, “I want to get in shape” is a nice goal, but only a dream.  Hal Urban states in his book, “Life’s Greatest Lessons”, that a goal is a dream with a deadline.  I want to do the Filthy Fifty, RX’d in under 30 minutes, by Aug 1st is a goal.  Although the infamous “Harvard Study” has proven to have no concrete data, the plethora of research offers validity that writing your goals down increases you commitment and likely hood for success.  Do your research, then get writing.

[1] The SMART goal concept was introduced by G.T. Doran, A. Miller and J. Cunningham in There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives, Management Review 70 (11), AMA Forum, pp. 35-36. What Makes a Goal “SMART”? also draws from the work of Ed Costa, Superintendent of Schools in Lenox; John D’Auria, Teachers 21; and Mike Gilbert, Northeast Field Director for MASC

27 thoughts on “Goals

  1. Win The Ruckus on June 4th 2011 in the Masters Division 45+

    175 Double unders in 2:00 May 31st

    I just PR’d in pull ups stuck at 34 for 5 months and achieved 40 this past week.
    New goal is to catch Frozen at 44 by May 31st. He will have 49 by then:)

    Coach Glenn


  2. June Goals-
    – 10 Kipping Pull-Ups
    – 10 Toes to bar (unbroken)
    – 30 second L Sit
    – work on strength and form in all aspects of crossfit

    Overall Goals
    – To build my speed and endurance for a full 90minutes on the soccer field
    – Build Muscle and tone up


  3. May goal reached. A sub 6:00 min mile at cfs. 5:57 today may 28th.

    June Goal: Win the Ruckus Masters division. First place best time in round 1 and Gold Helmet round 2.

    By July 1st: 175 double unders 2 min 405 Deadlift


  4. Anurag Mathur
    Description — Current —June Goal

    Run 1 mile —12:43—under 12
    Pull ups —3 (Black)— 10 (black)
    Push ups— 1— 5
    Rx WOD— 1— 2
    Attendance —3-4 days — at least 4 / wk.
    Weight loss (265 lbs)— lose 4 lbs.
    Row 2K —11:10 —Under 10
    Dead lift— 110 lbs— 140 lbs
    Jump Rope— BAD— 20 singles

    Appreciate any feedback, tips, lessons learned from coaches and fellow members.


    • Anurag – I have made huge gains on my pullups and pushups just by doing all the WODS with them,. Coming 5 times a week has helped ensure that I am hitting these excercises. In the past I was crossfitting 2-3 times a week and was not seeing hardly any improvements. Just by doing the movements more often, you will get it. Use the open gym times when available to work on goats, it really allows you to slow it down and focus, where you can’t always do so in a WOD.


  5. Fabiana: 65# Clean

    Just one rep with a solid triple extension, no early arm bend, quick elbows and a good squat.


  6. Fabiana – Thanks for the advice – I do appreciate it. I am going to build in push ups and pullups into my routine. I am trying at least 4 days.

    GOALS update
    Tracking on the 4 days/wk.
    6/16 – Row 2K (did 2 rounds today 9:24 and then 9:40) DONE
    Push ups and Dead lift coming right up!

    Thanks to the coaches and fellow crossfitters!


  7. Anurag – update

    -Deadlift – did 205# in july
    -HR Push ups have improved and did attain consistency in doing them – need coaches thumps up on form

    AUGUST GOAL(G) Updates:

    -JUMP ROPE – getting better but need more work – borrowing a goal from Larry – (G) perform 50 unbroken singles in AUGUST
    -PULL UP – doing jumping pull ups, will transition soon to band pull ups but want (G) to hit 10 band P/U this month
    -RUNNING – need help with this aspect – breathing, thinking, etc….(G) run 800m unbroken this month!!
    -NUTRITION (G) – primary focus this month to build good habits to improve stamina and WOD throughput



    • Anurag,
      Glad you are focused on goals. The time has come to breakthrough and step it up. Chrissy pushing you yesterday is just a small dose of what is needed for change to occur.
      Looking forward to the process.


  8. Performed 100 Unbroken Single Unders

    Did 1 double under but unable to get 2

    Popped/tore/hurt something in my chest in mid-July. Unable to do any pull-ups or push-ups after that.

    Move on to August goals.


    • DUde, you will have these goals in no time!! Snatch looks good. I know you can produce more power through the middle just with some time and technique. You are plenty strong!!!
      If my ring dips are 34 you might as well re write the goal as 35 ring dips 🙂


  9. Unable to reach July goals, Over shot the HSPU and did not spend enough time practicing. Very inconsistent month with my attendence – Rob away a lot, Kids home, etc.


  10. August Goal: Arrive 15 min early at least 3x a week and work on 5 skills: My list of skills are:
    Muscle Up Progression
    Pullups (no band)
    Double Unders
    Wall Balls
    Hand Release Pushups
    Ring Dips (no band)


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