Monday, August 24, 2009

Thoughts on Goals

I started doing CrossFit in June. For those who know me...I would never be mistaken for an athlete. And unlike many of my colleagues at Potomac CrossFit, I came at this pretty danged cold. Thankfully, they are a real supportive bunch. This crew also serves as an awesome case-study in combining online and real-world community. (A possible subject for a later post).

To get an idea of the types of things we do - I started a workout tracking blog.
Because, dangit, I need a good dose of navel-gazing with my exercise.

I'm finding that success in CrossFit, for me, requires 4 levels of goals.

The immediate
OK...I'm gonna do just 1 more rep/50 more meters/get to 10...
Usually thought while I am hoping not to puke on the floor or go into cardiac arrest.

The short-term - daily
For each of my workouts, my goal is to do 1 thing better or do 1 thing that I have never done before. That 1 thing changes based on what I am facing when I go to "the box".

For example - yesterday's "goal" was to get through 10 rounds of "Death by 10 meters."
"Death by 10 meters" is performed at a 10 meter distance.
- The first minute, you run the 10 meters. You rest for the remainder of the minute.
- The second minute you run 20 meters (once there, once back). Rest for the remainder of the minute.
- The third minute you run 30 meters. Rest for the ever-shrinking remainder of the minute.

You see where this is going...

I managed to get through 10. 11 flat out wasn't gonna happen. I still have LOTS of work to do on my cardio.

The medium-term - month

Each month, I create some performance goals. They do change, occasionally, based on the workouts I attend for the month.

Creating these monthly performance goals gives me some skills to focus on during the sessions. I'm trying to get past the "I suck at everything" point to only sucking at most things :') I'm a long way from being a CrossFit master.

The long-term - year

I've kept this a bit more general for now because I am still getting benchmarks on a number of activities. Right now - it's a vague "Finish a CrossFit Workout as written." Any one will do....

I'm going to make these more specific over the next month since I should have many of the benchmarks completed and have an idea of where I am starting from.

I'm also going to ditch the "appearance" goals. Because those fall into place when I hit the performance goals :')


World of Warcraft fell into the same pattern.
Immediate - Gotta kill this set of monsters.
Short term - Gotta finish x tasks this session.
Medium term - Go up a couple of levels this week
Long term - make it to Level 70.

I've stopped playing WoW for the time being. I got what I needed out of the experience and learned that I much prefer my gaming solo. (Fantasy Football being a notable exception to this rule).

My figure thanks me....

I think the goal model works for motivation when designing training. Of course, this means we have to treat "training" as an ongoing exercise, not a one-time event.

We need to encourage people to develop immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

And we need to create the support systems to help people accomplish these goals.

Because training really is about "behavior change". Right?


Anonymous said...

Love this, love this, love this (just saying). How's it working out for you?

Wendy said...

So far, so good. Still making gradual progress. Haven't quit yet ;')