Making the Impossible Possible

Here’s a great blog post from the archive. Coach Elasti wrote this a couple years ago, but it’s always relevant, especially at this time of year!

Originally published January 2013.

When I started CrossFit four years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today athletically, professionally, and personally. In the beginning, just showing up and getting through the workout was all I could manage. Eventually, I got comfortable and ambitious enough to set some real concrete goals.

My first CrossFit goals were: Get a pull-up (at 36 I had NEVER been able to do this!) and deadlift 200lbs (what?!).

In order to achieve these seemingly impossible (at the time) tasks, I would need a plan. Being part of a community and having access to coaching helped, but I would also have to practice, show-up, and track my progress. What I couldn’t imagine then was how pursuing these goals would turn me into the CrossFitter I am today.

As I went about these monumental tasks I realized that what I was doing outside the gym was just as important as what was happening inside the gym. Namely, I needed to eat better and sleep more.

Eating better and sleeping more increased my recovery time and I was able to work out more often. Within 8 months I more than hit my deadlift goal and around my 1-year CF anniversary I did my first dead-hang pull up. I hit plateaus and dealt with set-backs along the way, but with continued effort and clear focus I hit those marks with great pride!

Something else happened along the way that I didn’t expect. By setting a few distinct goals I created a synergy that radiated out into all aspects of my life and made me a better CrossFitter overall. Shortly after getting my first pull-up I started hitting benchmark workouts RX’d and was asked to be on the CFV competition team. Outside the gym I was more confident, ambitious, and happy! How cool is that?!

Four years later I continue to set “impossible” goals. This year I had major surgery. My goal was to make a full recovery: not as glamorous as pull ups and heavy deadlifts but no less life-affirming. Six months later I am stronger and healthier than ever. I am hitting PR’s I never even dreamed of. It all started with pull-ups and deadlifts.

What is your impossible goal?

Below I have included some tips to help set you on the path to greatness!

For each goal answer the following questions:

What is your goal? What do you hope to achieve? Be specific!
“Win the CFV Paleo Challenge.”
“Complete 45 days of paleo without any cheats.”
“Qualify for the CrossFit Games.”

By when? Be realistic but not too safe.
“February 13 this year.”
“By my 40th birthday.”

Why do you want to achieve this? This should be compelling to you. What really fires you up?!
“I want to start dating again.”
“I have high blood pressure and am at risk for diabetes.”
“I want to be healthy and fit as I head into my fifth decade of life.”
“Life is too short to be sick and sad.”

How will you feel when you get there? Again, this should feel exciting and compelling to you.
“Successful, powerful, unstoppable, proud.”

State your goal in the affirmative, present tense: as if you have already reached your dream. We believe what we tell ourselves!
“It’s February 13th. I have won the CFV Paleo Challenge and look and feel better than I have in years. I will use my winnings to hire a trainer so I can get better at Olympic lifts.”
“It’s February 13th and I am the winner of the Paleo Challenge. My clothes fit perfectly and my benchmark score qualified me to get on the leaderboard! I can’t wait to participate in the CF Open.”

Potential obstacles along the path to success? Be honest with yourself here. Are they really obstacles or just excuses and fears rearing their ugly head?
“I travel for work a lot.”
“I hate cooking.”
“I am disorganized.”
“I love cheeseburgers and fries.”
“The dog ate my homework.”

Action steps to ensure success. What are three or four positive steps you can take regularly to make the journey easier and ensure success?
“Hire a trainer, find a buddy, cook meals for the week every Sunday, sign up for a competition, go to open gym on Sunday.”

Make it public. Nothing better than having someone else to answer to when you are falling down on the job.
Tell someone, put it on Facebook, whisper it in your wife’s ear.

Track your progress. Get a journal, a blog, a tape recorder.
Write down your progress regularly.

Set aside some time in the next few days and let yourself dream impossible dreams. Use the community and your coaches for support and to bounce ideas off of. Make next year your best year ever.

Good luck and kick ass.


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