In remembering and celebrating my adventures in the previous year, it always get’s me fired up to start planning what’s next. Without going into too much detail, if I end up doing half of what I’ve put on the 2013 tic-list, it’s going to be an awesome year, and I hope you’ll follow along. There will be long bike rides and hikes over and around mountains, and at least one marathon.
Last January, my first post of the year was about goal setting, and I thought it would be a good idea to repost it at the onset of this New Year, in case you missed it, or needed a refresher. So here it is!
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
–Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
Regardless of what your stance is on New Year’s resolutions, it is hard to deny that the beginning of blocks of time, seasons, or new journeys lend themselves to setting up some goals for yourself. Often however, in both life and athletics, we go about our routines without any direction or purpose, as reflected by the famous quote from Lewis Carroll. Common is the athlete or weekend warrior who does the same routine or workouts daily with little progression or variety, or just kind of does whatever they feel like on any particular day–piecemeal style programming. I can make these accusations with a clear conscious, knowing that I certainly have been guilty of these training/life pitfalls.
So, how can we “be better”, as my wife likes to tell me? Stephen R. Covey gives us some great advice in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he advises us to “Begin with the end in mind.” One effective tool that can allow us to set our goals by “beginning with the end in mind” is the acronym SMART.
SMART stands for:
Specific. Saying you want to get faster this year isn’t specific. Saying you want to take 3 minutes off your half-marathon time is. Saying you want to get toned up isn’t specific. Saying you want to go from 23% body fat to 18% is. If it’s not specific, it’s not really a goal. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.
Measurable. Usually, specific goals tend to be measurable as well. Drawing from the example above, I can’t measure “toned”. I can measure weight, or body fat percentage, or circumference measurements. I can measure strength by how much you can lift. Speed by, well…your race times. EasyPeasy.
Attainable and Realistic. Essentially, don’t set yourself up to fail. This doesn’t mean we can’t dream, but it does mean we set goals–even if they are short term–that are in our reality to reach. Example: I want to run a 2:05 marathon and win New York this year. Specific–very. Measurable–yes. Attainable and Realistic–not in a million years.
Time Based. When do you want to accomplish your goal? The time may be set by your event, or season, or maybe you want to be to that desired weight/body comp by Memorial Day so you look great in your yellow flowery swim trunks.
So get going! If you need help with your goals, or if you know your goals but don’t know “what road to take” to get you there, find someone who can help you. That’s what coaches and trainers are for, and there are plenty of smart and knowledgeable ones around.
“It’s not a goal unless you write it down.“
Once you set your goals, put them in writing! There’s something about the written word–it becomes real as soon as you write it. Happy New Year! Cheers to your 2013 goals and dreams!