Goal Setting: Focus

We have discussed in previous posts the difference between outcome goals and action goals and also how to set realistic goals. There are many important points to goal setting, but one significant thing that can be the deciding factor if you would ever reach one of your goals or not is: focus.

To be committed to achieving a goal in fitness or any other part of your life, you have to be focused. In reality, there are many people that will never reach goals that they have set for themselves. Most of the time what stops them isn’t lack of knowledge or skills, it’s the struggle to stay focused.

So how do you stay focused? There are several considerations to keep in mind to help you in achieving that:

1. Focus on one goal at a time:
In CrossFit, there are so many movements and aspects of fitness that you need to learn, practice, strengthen, improve on, and train consistently. But in order to do that, you have to work on one thing (or a few) at a time. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you have a goal for yourself is keep jumping from one goal to another without focusing on one until you achieve it. For example, you have two athletes that have set goals for themselves. They are: double-unders and get a strict pull-up. These two athletes don’t have a deadline for their goals but each will try to work towards them differently. Athlete 1 decides to focus on double-unders for 3 weeks as part of her warm-up and extra work after class. Athlete 2 decides to practice a little bit of double-unders for one week before losing interest, in addition, decides to skip strength progressions and just do banded pull-ups whenever they’re programmed in the class. Guess who’s going to start reaching their goals first? After daily practice, Athlete 1 gets her double-unders in under 3 weeks. Athlete 1 now decides to follow some strength work and progressions to get her first strict pull-up in the next few weeks. All while Athlete 2 is still stuck playing around with the jump rope and not seeing any progress in her pull-ups. What was the difference between the two? One of them was committed and focused to putting in the work to reach an end result. When you make a commitment to a specific goal, you are able to invest all your energy and focus to that one area.

2. Focus on the steps to reach that goal:
Say you’re goal is so big just the thought of it is overwhelming. Going back to Athlete 1, their big goal is to compete in an Rx division in a competition. How long will it take to achieve it? How much work needs to be done to achieve it? Will that goal ever be accomplished? All these questions and worries will make it hard to focus and most probably paralyze you from ever getting into action. Keep your goal in the back of your head but instead focus on smaller goals that will help you reach that big goal. For example, Athlete 1 has the first goal of achieving double-unders. The second goal will be pull-ups. These are all requirements to be able to compete in an Rx division. By breaking down the steps that need to be taken, every time you climb over one step you just succeeded in reaching one of your small goals. Your journey will be much more rewarding and this will help you stay motivated to keep working. Pay attention to the small achievements and that will allow you to have long-term focus to reach your big goal.

3. Focus on what you can control:
When working towards a goal, sometimes life will get in the way. You will face obstacles, failure, hardships, and struggles on your path to reaching a goal. You will lose motivation and your commitment will start to weaken. You might lose interest and move onto something else, or you just give up. It’s important to learn to commit and stay on the course towards achieving what you want no matter what obstacles arise and whatever sacrifices you have to make. When some of those obstacles and hardships are out of your control then try to focus on the things you can control such as the training you need to do, or re-prioritizing some things to make time to work on your goal. Life isn’t perfect and the path to success is not a straight line. It’s important to stay focused.

Most worthwhile goals take time to achieve. So make sure you are prepared to learn to focus.

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