Physical Activity

How To Set Process Goals To Perform Better

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It’s imperative that you regularly remind yourself of your goals, mission, purpose, intentions and focus. Practice bringing your thoughts back to your “why” and what you want to do with your time, energy and effort. The more you can do this, the better. Create the habit of thinking about your own purpose before each WOD and as soon as you feel your focus shift towards any undesired, unhealthy, negative or unproductive thoughts.

After your remind yourself of your own mission, you can start to break down your specific goals for the season, workout or event you’re about to start. It’s helpful to do this with a coach or someone on your support team who knows you very well. Let’s review the difference between process goals and outcome goals so that you know how to get the most out of your capabilities.

  • What do you want to happen in your upcoming performance?
  • Do you want to win?
  • Do you want to finish in a certain time?
  • Do you want to hit a specific number of reps?
  • Do you want to be in the top 10?
  • Do you want to make it to the next stage in competition?

Score, time, placement weight, and reps are all OUTCOMES. They are all the big results that come from your actions and behaviors. Sure, it’s helpful to embrace your desires and to understand what you want to happen in your performance. But are you missing the most important steps? Are you so focused on the outcome you want, that you’re not thinking about what you have to do to make it happen?

Before each performance, think through what you want to do during your performance, how you want to at attack it and what your process goals are.

Examples of Process Goals

  • Keep the bar in my hands the entire set
  • Stare at the wall right in front of me the whole set
  • Count down each of my reps outloud
  • Set myself up for each lift the same way every time
  • Look to my coach for advice after each lift
  • Get my hands right on the ground to do my burpees
  • Take less than three seconds on each transition
  • Drive my elbows and chest up out of each squat
  • Take 10 lunge steps without resting
  • Stop and take three deep breaths after any failed or missed rep
  • Smile if I start to have negative thoughts when it gets really hard
  • Rest at the top of each snatch for a breath before I continue to cycle
  • Keep my legs together during my kips
  • Nod my head, and tell myself “I can” if my plan is starting to fall apart

Do you see how these goals are specific to whatever sport you’re competing in and are they’re focused on things like form, fundamentals, strategies and techniques?

Process goals help you focus on the actions you must take to properly execute during your training or competitions. When you want to achieve a certain outcome, you have to focus on what you can control in your performance in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving the outcome goals. So again, outcome goals are certainly part of it, they are the bigger picture and they’re helpful to have. They will often keep you motivated and focused. But, remember to come back to the process and to think more about what you can control and how you want to execute for each training session.

Try it out this week. Each time you get to the gym (or compete), make a few key process goals for each workout.