Goal setting is key when you’re wanting to progress in an achievable way. I talk about goal setting in a previous post. In this post we’re going to look at good methods of figuring out what your next goals should be.
Rewind to the beginning of the year
What were your contortion goals this year? Maybe it was to get your split down? Or perhaps it was to stay in chest stand for longer? A great starting point is to look back to the beginning of the year. Think about what you aimed to achieve. Did you achieve it?
With this in mind you should have an idea as to what your progress has looked like. What didn’t you manage to do? Potentially you set the bar too high for yourself. Or perhaps you didn’t manage to dedicate enough time to achieving your goals.
What makes a good goal
Good goals to pick are things that will challenge you but not be impossible to achieve. When thinking about the goals you want to set yourself think about things that are hard for you. The best goals to work on are weaknesses. While these aren’t fun in the short term (nobody likes to do things they’re not good at!) you’ll get a much greater feeling of accomplishment if you commit to achieving the goal and actually follow through with it.
Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T
When planning out your goals it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to do too much all at once as well as not take into account where your skills currently lie. This is why when we’re planning our training, keeping the idea of S.M.A.R.T goals in mind is really helpful. Here’s a breakdown of what this means.
Making sure that you have a specific goal is important. If you set yourself a wooly goal such as “I want to be more flexible” there is no real way of being able to say you’ve achieved that goal. A better example would be “I want to have my left leg front split flat with square hips” or “I want to have my arms straight in a bridge”. The more specific the goal the more likely you will be to achieve it.
The key to keeping yourself motivated is being able to see improvement. As anyone that has trained flexibility for a while knows, progress doesn’t happen in a straight line and improvement is slow. To be able to track your progress, making sure that your goal is measurable is important. Recording your training is a great way to do this. Many people have phones that can record video. Recording your sessions and taking screen shots of the things your working on provides a good way to track progress.
Setting goals that are actually in your reach means that you’ll be able to attain it quicker and move on to the next goal. If you’re just starting your contortion training and have no existing flexibility, having advanced poses as your goals is not achievable. Choose something that is closer to your ability level and work from there. Take a look at the Contortion Poses to get an idea as to what would be right for you.
Closely related to having your goal be achievable, your goal being realistic is important too. Keeping your goals realistic is usually linked to the timeframe or how timely the goal is. For example, achieving front splits is achievable for most people however planning to get it down in a week is not realistic. Think about how your previous training has progressed before and which things that you struggle with.
Remembering that flexibility and contortion training is a fairly long and slow process. When you’re setting goals remember that improvement doesn’t happen over night! Setting short, medium and long term goals is a good way to keeping your goals realistic.
Write down your goals and keep reviewing them
One of the common mistakes people make when goal setting is to set a goal and work towards it and then not come back to review how their progress is going against the goal. This is why keeping the goals timely is super important. If you have set yourself a target for getting your pancake flat over eight weeks you can track your progress week-to-week. If after four weeks your progress is stalling this is a good opportunity to review your training as well as how realistic the goal is. You might have to move it to a longer-term goal, or you might need some help from a coach to help you achieve it.
Map out how you’re going to get there
Setting your goals is half the battle. The next step is actually getting there! Once you know what you want to achieve the next step is to figure out how. If you’re just starting out with your flexibility training you might want to take a look at our Getting Started with Flexibility pages. One of the key things to remember is consistency. Flexibility training is hard work and a fairly large commitment. You will only see improvement towards your goal if you dedicate time to it. Planning your sessions each week and scheduling when you’re going to train can help you with this.
Setting goals is a great way to make incremental progress. Make sure that your goals are very specific and that you can record your progress. Write your goals down and set a timeframe for them. Make a plan for your training.