No-one makes New Years Resolutions do they? Well at least none that last past week 1 of the New Year! My 10 mins S&C a day certainly didn’t. However, one of the reasons resolutions don’t last is that they are too vague …. I am going to lose weight – get fitter, quit smoking, drink less. So they get lost in life and life’s pressures.
So for all of us who are training this year let us not set resolutions – let us set some goals. Goals will help you work harder, be more focused, and overcome setbacks. If you’re still not convinced that you need to set goals for the New Year, then read below and make a start. They don’t have to be long winded or even detailed – but do have to be realistic.
Do I need to set goals? Yes if you actually want to achieve anything.
Goals provide focus – with family, work and technology vying for our attention, it’s sometimes challenging to know where to focus your time and resources. Goal-setting will help you to focus your attention on your priorities.
Goals help you maintain motivation – goals encourage you to keep going. They enable you to see the bigger picture and give you motivation to take the steps to get there.
Goals make you accountable – goals help you move from thought to action. If you plan to do a challenge and sign up for it – you are committed
Goals help you become a better athlete – they are designed to take you out of your comfort zone, push the boundaries of what you thought you could achieve.
- Goals give you a path to achieving your aim – creating small goals as stepping stones can help you achieve a much larger dream;
So how do I set realistic goals – make them SMART
Now that you want to set some goals for this year they need to work for you. Vague goals go into the same bin as New Years Resolutions, Also don’t be afraid to think long term and be realistic. So to start with we can have a dream – this year I want to complete my first Standard distance triathlon and then follow up with a moe demanding event. Next year its a Middle distance and the year after is the Big One. So we have a rough framework. The example below sets out how to create SMART goals to achieve the first part of the vision – complete a Standard distance Triathlon.
My goal for this year is to do a sprint distance tri as warm up and then complete a standard distance tri.
So how SMART is our goal.
S – is it specific? No, it doesn’t mention when, where or how you are planning to compete..
M – is it measurable? Sort of – complete a Standard is not bad but it would be good to have a completion time gate in there to then move forward to next year.
A – is it achievable? If you are a beginner maybe not – only you will know. Also talk to a coach if you have one about your goals. Some people have an additional ‘A’ of agreed. If you are going to train for endurance events then you need to at least have your partners agreement for the many hours per week training!
R – is it realistic? Whether a goal is realistic for you will depend on your starting point and how fit you are. But do be realistic. My heart sinks when an athlete comes to me in their second season of Triathlon and wants to do an Ironman. Ultra long distance is seen as a right of passage for many. But don’t just consider whether you can train to stagger over the line .. think about the impact on your body – the amount of training – the mental impact of focussing on an all consuming goal – and then what after.
T – is it timely So when do you want to achieve the goal. Be specific and work towards it.
So now we have a goal of: This year I am going to do some warm up Sprint distances in May and June. I am then going to train for the Cotswold Standard in late August and want to finish in under 2 hours 50 mins – and enjoy it!
Using the SMART method has now made the gaol accountable, and motivates him to put steps in place to achieve it.