You know how much we military types like acronyms, right? Well, this one works and makes sense. There are many versions of the SMART process. Most of the versions you’ll find are lame, kindergarten versions geared towards the average American that sits on their ass and does little all day. I’ve tailored the below SMART model for folks that are little more motivated.
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a CrossFitter and likely a CrossFitter at CFW (so obviously you’re smarter than the average CrossFitter. Ha.). That tells me you’re a little more motivated than the typical couch fat-tatoe. But that doesn’t mean you’re a hyper-organized, goal setting, success achieving machine. However, if you apply the SMART model to your resolutions, you will greatly increase your chances of being successful!
Specifically define your goal. While this may seem like a given, it is the most important step. Your goal must be outlined as specifically as possible. My staff (especially Josh) will laugh, because they’ve heard this countless times… use the “5 Ws”. They are: Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why?. When you’re asked a question, any question, and your answer covers each of the 5 Ws thoroughly, you will have given the best answer possible. When you ask yourself these questions in relation to your goal, be very detailed in the answers, and your result will be a specific and well defined goal.
You must line out criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of your goal. Your goal must be quantifiable. When you can measure your progress, you are more likely to continue your efforts to reach goals. Within your goal can be sub-goals. They are the “steps” to the top of your mountain. With each “step” you experience the feeling of achievement. These mini achievements will help fuel you on to reaching your final goals. This part can usually be answered by asking “how much” or “how many” in relation to your goal.
Some would use attainable here. I like actionable. Actionable means almost the same as attainable, but just the root of the word implies a bit of work will be involved in the process. This is probably the most important step in the SMART model. It is where you line out the steps you will take to accomplish your goal. At a minimum, you must answer… ”how can I do this?” So therefore, you will also answer if the goal is even possible.
Reversal: If Drew posted a goal of increasing his Deadlift by 250lbs by the end of this quarter’s strength phase, he would be setting himself up for failure. But, he can line out progressions taking into account all the factors and variables in his life to reasonably conclude if his goals are attainable.
Many SMART models use realistic here. However, I think you discern if your goal is realistic in the “actionable” portion of this process. Resonant, defined here as having a lasting presence or effect; enduring, is more relevant in our pursuit of our goal. Resonant is definitely NOT a synonym for easy. Your goal should make a felt and lasting effect… to whatever you apply it to affect. But it should involve a level of difficulty requiring a substantial and serious commitment of yourself. In other words, there has to be sacrifice involved to make it all worthwhile.
You want to get ripped and have abs? Something has to give. You can’t drink alcohol, eat bread or pasta, or be sleep deprived. That one is pretty cut and dry, but some people LOVE their beer and truly believe they NEED the carbs. Perhaps you’re one of the millions of alcoholics in the US that “only has a glass or two of wine each night”. For them (you?), it takes a big sacrifice to lose a few pounds… not really. They just think it is. None of those things are essential in the human diet. Cutting out those things will certainly fuel resonant change in both your mental and physical health.
You must have dates and/or deadlines for your goal and sub goals. They hold you accountable, but also let you know if you need to adjust your original time line. That doesn’t mean you push back your dates every time your miss your mark. The time line serves to keep you on track, so it must be realistic. This portion is where most people are not honest with themselves about their capabilities. It is a balance… make the timeline too short and failure is certain. Make it too lax, and failure comes due to dwindling interest and not enough challenge.
Example: Drew wants to add some serious weight to his lifts. Obviously, he’s not capable of accomplishing his goals in a week. However, he can definitely make a plan that will provide a realistic increase of 5-10 lbs on each of those per month.
So make a plan. But remember, no plan is successful without preparation. You have to be prepared to stick to your plan for your goals to become achievements.
Success Tip: Seek an unbiased, yet familiar, source to help you develop a SMART plan. In the case of fitness goals, see one of the senior staff members here at CFW. Have one of us review your plan and make suggestions. We know you well enough to make corrective actions to your plan, but aren’t so emotionally attached to you, like your girlfriend, husband, wife, or other significant person, that we will sugar coat it for you.
This year can easily be the best year of your life. Make it happen.