Setting Goals for the CrossFit Open and Beyond

February 15, 2024

Mike Giardina

It's not too late to set goals for the 2024 Open! Read on to get motivated and get the most out of your Open experience.

The CrossFit Open is something different for everyone. For some, it’s a means of qualification to the next stage of the CrossFit Games season. For most, it’s a chance to assess your fitness, challenge yourself, and achieve things you didn’t know you could — which is all the more likely when you have a goal in mind. 

The definition of a goal is an effort or achievement where effort is directed or aimed toward. In the realm of CrossFit, goals are fundamental and often centered around performance or health. The SMART criteria — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented — are often used and can be crucial for crafting and achieving effective goals:

  • Specific - Goals are set for a specific objective.
  • Measurable - You are able to measure your progress to determine success or failure.
  • Attainable - Goals are conceivable.
  • Relevant - Goals are aligned with your values and long-term objectives.
  • Time-oriented - Goals have a time limit, which helps set a plan and keep motivation.

As we approach the 2024 CrossFit Open, comprehending these goal-setting principles is paramount. Specific goals demand clarity on desired outcomes; vague aspirations like "do better" fall short. Precision is key. For example, targeting improvement within your age group or profession provides a tangible aim. If you ranked in the 67th percentile last year, aiming for the 70th percentile is specific and measurable — and a 3% improvement is attainable with the right amount of time and dedication to training and nutrition

Relevance is also essential. Ask yourself why this goal matters. Does a 3% improvement signify a year of dedicated training and nutrition? If so, leverage this discipline as a blueprint for success in other aspects of life. That is the beauty of success within the CrossFit affiliate. The adaptations are not only physical but also mental. Confidence in your ability to assess your current state, make a goal to improve, and achieve it is transferable into everyday life, whether it be personal or professional.

The Open provides a time-oriented framework for goals, offering a specific deadline for achievement. However, it's crucial to recognize that reaping the benefits of improved training and nutrition takes time — often months. Waiting until the last minute to set your goals risks setting yourself up for failure. Provide yourself enough time for thorough preparation and training to maximize your chances of success.

Since the 2024 CrossFit Open is drawing near, it's important to set performance goals that are realistic for the time at hand. Big goals — such as going from banded pull-ups to unassisted muscle-ups — are better suited for a longer time frame (like next year's Open!) However, there are still valuable goals you can set now and as you move through the rest of the year.

Prioritize community involvement. Consider making it a goal to participate in all of your affiliate's Friday Night Lights events. Alternatively, another short-term goal might be to shift your focus toward celebrating effort over placement. Dedicate yourself to giving your all, regardless of your final time or rep count. Embrace the satisfaction of knowing you left everything on the floor.

If you haven’t set any goals yet, you can use this year’s Open as your baseline to set long-term goals. Analyze each workout's results to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Pinpoint weaker areas, break them down, and establish a plan to enhance them. These process-oriented goals provide smaller accomplishments that build to the larger objective. The gym is a profound space for self-discovery and growth. Celebrate your progress as you move along in the process and carry that confidence beyond the affiliate walls.

  • Process-oriented goals - A plan that incorporates short-term, specific goals that set you up to reach the desired objective. 

The affiliate is an invaluable setting for practicing goal-setting because it fosters a supportive community — one of the most critical components of success. This is true in any endeavor. Improved performance comes easier when you surround yourself with individuals who exemplify success in training, nutrition, and mindset. Learn from their experiences and integrate their strategies into your routine.

Ultimately, the CrossFit Open transcends mere qualification for the Games — it's about community, personal growth, and self-discovery. Embrace the journey and cherish the shared experience.