Goal Setting and the CrossFit Open

It’s hard to arrive anywhere without a road map or plan. You need directions to drive somewhere new. You need help navigating your friend’s apartment building when you first visit them. You need help establishing attainable goals that you can follow through on.


Next month begins the first phase of the CrossFit Games: the CrossFit Open. During the Open, all of CrossFit, all over the world, completes the same series of workouts. The top 15 people from different geographical regions go on to compete in a regional qualifier to see if they can qualify for the CrossFit Games.


You may be asking yourself what goal setting and the CrossFit Games have in common. I want to help everyone see that the Games are something we can aspire to and use as an inspiration. The Open is a 5-week series of workouts that everyone in the gym will participate in together. We will all encourage each other and fight through these workouts together. It will give us an idea of where we are at, and then we will be able to re-test these workouts and see how we have improved in the future.


With this in mind, I want the Open to serve as a starting point for our goals in the next year. In any type of endeavor, goal setting can get tricky. It can be easy to get discouraged and lose sight of your goals. This can happen after a bad day at work or a disappointing day at the gym. We need to remember that there will be ups and downs and set realistic goals for ourselves based off a clear starting point. The Open will be our starting point.


When I started my fitness journey at Lincoln Park CrossFit I weighed 300 pounds and couldn’t do much of anything. At that time my goals were as simple as running a mile without stopping and touching my toes. It wasn’t easy, but slowly I got to where I wanted to go. When I first started CrossFit, it was during the 2011 Open season. I had no idea what everyone else was doing and I was simply concerned with finishing a workout. Over the next year I trained regularly and lost almost 100 pounds and was encouraged to do the open. I am glad I did and it allowed me to perform new skills for the first time and learn where I needed improvement. I’ll never forget my Coach at the time Justin Enders giving me an amazing que and encouraging me to get my first snatch at #135 pounds. I wound up getting 12 total for the workout! That open season was a huge success for me and helped me have a greater idea of what to work on for the following year.


In short, the Open gave me a challenging, but attainable goal. Accomplishing that goal gave me fuel to attempt more. I enjoy looking back on that day when I Snatched #135 for the first time. I think about it before I start a hard workout. When I think there is a chance I will hit a wall I try to remember the times I have personally “won” a workout.


Now my goals look very different. Deadlifting 500, Squatting 400, Clean and Jerking 300, Snatching 225 while being able to run a sub 6-minute mile are on my current short list. When you set your goals, you need to know that they can be attainable in a reasonable period of time. I would love to run a mile in less than 5 minutes, but I know this would be a much greater undertaking and would take much longer than reaching 6 minutes.


We have already started 2015 strong addressing nutrition. However, as we look forward to 2015 what are your other goals? Do you have short-term goals to accomplish before the snow melts? Do you have goals for the end of the year? I would encourage everyone to participate in the CrossFit Open together and see where you measure up and what you can work on going into the summer. Use the Open to find your weaknesses and then lets make them tangible, write them down and let’s work through them together!