Today I Might Be Crazy

Today I might be crazy. I signed up for the 2017 CrossFit Games. I have only been participating in CrossFit since last July; I am not a top athlete; I am not highly competitive; I have no hope of making it to the regional games for my age group; and I will not even rank highly in my gym. So, why sign up and participate? Because, without hurdles to overcome or goals to achieve, it’s easy to lose track of where you are heading or even where you wanted to go in the first place.

This morning’s MET-CON at “the box” was a cardio killer. Our trainer said it was the hardest of the week because the first Games workout is on Friday. Yikes, that’s coming up fast. For the next five weeks, everyone participating in the games will compete at their home “box” with the same workout and log results. The top scores will move on until the elite from across the country gather this summer to compete in the finals.

If there isn’t hope of any substantial outcome, why compete? I decided to compete because I made a commitment last July to give CrossFit a one-year opportunity to see what it could do for me. I made the commitment, so I will give it 100% until the end of the year. If that means pushing myself to do more than I thought I could, then that is what I will do. I’m already stronger than I’ve ever been. But, I can do more.

I could work out at the local gym or at home. Would I push myself as hard? No, absolutely not. Unless you have crazy determination and focus, it’s important to seek outside guidance to move beyond where you are today. The best will always tell you that without the guidance of their coach or a mentor, they wouldn’t have gotten where they are today.

In my financial planning practice, I push clients to set goals, break them into small bites and develop timelines for completion. Unfortunately, I don’t receive much feedback that clients are taking advantage of the power of goal setting. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

So why not write them down? My uneducated guess is a fear of failure. But, if you wrote down a goal, be it financial, lifestyle, personal growth, career, health, etc., and do only one thing toward achieving the goal, won’t you be farther along than if you didn’t take any action? How is that failure? It’s not; you should praise yourself for any progress you’ve made. Then, reassess the goal, redefine the interim steps, and recalculate the goal date.

Forbes reports a remarkable study about goal-setting. Harvard’s MBA graduate students were asked if they had set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as specific plans to transform their fantasies into realities. The result of the study was that only 3% of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13% had goals in their minds but hadn’t written them anywhere, and 84% had no future goals at all. Think for a moment which group you would belong to. After 10 years, the same group of students were interviewed again and the results were astonishing. The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals and plans for them were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% of the class.

So, what does my competing in the CrossFit Games have to do with financial planning? Absolutely nothing for someone at my level. But it has everything to do with living my best life. What commitments will you make to live your best life? Will you write them down? Will you share them with your financial planner, life-coach, mentor, trainer so you have your own personal cheerleader in your corner?

Kelly Adams, CFP®, EA

Novi, MI