Setting goals

One of the major things that I learned by doing Goruck Selection is to be very careful in how and where you set your goals.

When I first began to prepare for Selection, I set a goal that i wanted to be top 10 in the class.  At 46 years old, being top 10 is outstanding and I felt like that goal stretched me, challenged me and pushed me to train harder than just to have a goal of finishing.

I used Unbeatable Mind techniques of breathing and visualization daily to put me in that top 10.  Through research on forums like Professional Soldier, I set my goals for the PT test at numbers that I thought would get me to the top 10 in the class.  Soon, I began to meet those numbers and even exceed them.  On test day, I set PR’s for both the pushups and sit-ups and was among the top few in the class.  The run went well and I smashed the ruck, well under the time hack and in the top 10.

The goal of top ten seemed out of reach at first.  So far out of reach that I just kind of assumed that if I was top ten, I would easily be able to finish the event because top ten seemed to be an even greater goal.

Where we set our goals is where we end up.  SealFit visualization is very powerful, so powerful that you have to really watch what you set your mind on because you will attain it and it might not be what you really wanted.

As I was alone, in the dark, depleted, cramping and struggling to finish carrying my 60 pound pack and 80 pound sandbag the entire length of the unknown distance, a Cadre walked up to me and quietly started talking.  If he had yelled at me, I probably would have picked up the bag and continued, but this guy was smooth and an expert in mind manipulation.  Instead of yelling, he reassured me, complimented me on making it so far and told me it was fine to stop now before I ended up in the hospital.  This was powerful.

He told me that he recognized that I had trained my ass off, but I just didn't train properly for this event.  He was right.  No food for 18 hours of exercise had me dizzy, lightheaded, cramping and physically at the very bottom of the fuel tank.  I had trained without food, but not to this extent.  I succumbed to the realization and withdrew.

On the walk out he was even nicer.  He told me that I should be extremely proud of myself because...I was top ten in Selection.

BOOM.  I wanted to dig a hole and crawl in it.  At that moment I realized that I had been visualizing and training for exactly where I was and that WAS NOT going to get me to my original goal of finishing this event. I had accomplished my goal exactly, but in doing so I had sabotaged my original goal of finishing.  Your mind is a good soldier…it does what it is told.  No more, no less.  Here I was disappointed because I had reached the exact goal I had set for myself.

Dumbfounded, I sat down in the parking lot and wondered how things might have been different if I had set my goal differently.  Yep, I made it to the top ten, but I still did not accomplish my original goal.

Had I set a goal not to be top ten in the class but to be in the top 10% OF THE FINISHERS, things might have been vastly different.




Those goals don't seem all that different from one another to many people, but they are.  In fact, there are galaxies of difference between the two goals.  One says that success is being top 10.  While a good thing to be, you are still not a finisher.  The other says that first you will be a FINISHER (your original goal) and second, that you will exceed that by crushing the event and ending up finishing AND being in the top 10% .

In many events, or in school, being top ten is good...really good and will probably get you into the college you want to go to or win an age group medal.  In other events, being top 10 may not get you anything at all, except failure.  Selection is an example but other examples may include the Olympic Trials, BUDs, SFAS, The CrossFit Regionals, The Regional wrestling tournament.  Each of these things requires you to be top 3 or to graduate, to move on.  You could accomplish your goal of setting a world record, but if you finish 4th place…you don’t get to go to the Olympics.  Maybe all 4 of you set a world record, but you will not go to the big show, your original goal.

Be careful how you set your goals.  First set goals to absolutely reach the original mission plan- Go to the Olympics, Graduate BUDs, Finish Selection, Make it to the CrossFit Games.  Set a second goal to exceed that first goal- Go to the Olympics and earn a gold medal in the trials and set a new world record in my event, Graduate BUDs and become a SEAL, Make it to the CrossFit Games and win my Region, Finish Selection and be top 10% of the finishers.

Visualization is powerful and if you are not already using it in your training and daily life, I encourage you to research it and use visualization techniques to reach your goals in fitness, business or life in general.  If you need a source, try

Just be careful where you set your goals because you will probably achieve them and it may not be what you originally wanted.

So many people experience failure but never realize that they are only doing so because they are setting goals improperly…just like I did.  Be specific, be exact and make sure that those goals match the end result that you want.