Short-Term Goals


by Thomas Richards

We’re busy prepping for our 9th annual SISU Summer Throwdown, and while announcing registration opening at the whiteboard, the coaching staff often get a lot of blank stares or people asking us why they should compete. 

Having a short-term goal, which I’ll define here as 90 days or less, is a great way to stay focused and committed to a task. I’m a believer that humans operate in 90-day cycles (which is why Minnesota winter is so brutal!) and that we can commit to something wholeheartedly for that time period. 

So here are 4 reasons to commit to a short-term physical goal:

Reason #1: You’ll train harder

There’s nothing like having a competition looming that will get you out of bed in the morning to train hard. You want to perform at your best and give your all, especially if you’re competing with a partner. Everyone has nerves before a competition, and the more you’ve trained the more confident you’ll be on game day. 

Reason #2: You’ll be conscious of your diet

Food is fuel for performance; what we put in our body every day will come out in how we feel, perform, energize, and focus. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten three desserts the night before a workout and swore off sugar for the rest of my life. But knowing how food affects me pushes me to lock in my nutrition for my short-term goal. 

Reason #3: Motivation for new Skills/Personal Records

Whether you’re competing in a triathlon or a CrossFit competition, there are skills involved that you have to be competent at before game day. Very few people wake up every day and plan to spend extra training time working on their weaknesses. But if you add some pressure and motivation via a short-term goal I bet you’ll start hammering away!

Reason #4: Personal Satisfaction

Planning, training, executing, and then fulfilling your goals is a satisfying endeavor. Humans are rewarded via dopamine to complete their goals, both long and short-term. Think back to how great it felt to complete your first athletic event, graduate college, get a good grade on a hard test, crush your work goals, etc. It takes dedication and hard work to achieve our goals, and it feels good when you’ve done it. 

Maybe a CrossFit competition or a triathlon isn’t your cup of tea; that’s ok! But it will greatly benefit you to pick some physical goal to accomplish in a short-term window. Everyone needs a dose of motivation to keep us going, so here are some other examples of goals you could take on:

  • Double your max unbroken push-ups
  • Get a strict pull-up
  • Back squat a certain goal
  • Run 1 or 3 miles in a certain time
  • Hit a set number of steps per day for 60 days
  • Do an online stretching routine every day for 30 days