At the beginning of last year Michele asked her clients to create goals for themselves. I am guessing many of you did it and if not, you’ve gone through the goal-setting process at some point in your life, unless most of your life was lived in a cave. So, most of you should be familiar with the process, for those cave-dwellers sit back and learn! I recently dusted off my goals realizing that I fell in the same New Year’s resolution trap of setting goals, being gung-ho about staying on top of them, and then forgetting them after a few months went by. Oops. That pretty much defeats the purpose of the process.
So, I wanted to write this next post about goals and I wanted to do it specifically not anywhere near the New Year. I have nothing against New Year’s resolutions (aka goals), but if you were to tackle goal setting in an off-month such as October or November it has a different feel to it. There’s not as much pressure to get this next year right and follow the crowd of popular but far too general resolutions of "get fit in 2019!” It feels a little more personal and a little less pressure because it’s just you and a piece of paper. No one’s going to ask you, “So, what’s your November resolution?” It’s just about you. Removing all of the hoopla surrounding the New Year (Y2K anyone?) we can strip it down to the basics.
We all know goals are important (cave-dwellers FYI, goals are important), we’ve been taught that in several different facets through all phases of our lives from a baby moving to solid foods to a toddler taking their first steps to learning how to spell, and read, and write, etc. You get the idea. Whether you’ve physically written them down or not you’re continuously pursuing multiple goals every single day. For example, I have the hardest time staying on top of cleaning the house which means I spend about three-four hours every weekend cleaning. This week I decided I was going to try and do one cleaning related task every night to try and remedy the situation. Even though I didn’t write it down, I set a goal for myself.
I’m sure you’ve heard many approaches to the topic of goal-setting so much so that it kind of becomes cliché. Type the words “Setting goals” into Google’s Search box and you get 499,000,000 results. That’s not overwhelming at all. Don’t run back to your cave, I’ve done the data mining and will offer you some great tips to get you started and, in the process, help Google reach that even 500,000,000 on the topic. Win-Win. Here are some great tips from Mind Tools with a framework of what the goals should look like.
Use the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Trackable.
Use positive statements for your goals, for example: instead of “Don’t have a bad race”; “Finish strong”. Prioritize your goals. When you have multiple goals, you’re working toward it can become overwhelming to know which one to focus on first. To avoid that, prioritize your goals so you have a clear plan to work through them. Make sure you have control. If you are not in the driver’s seat of achieving a goal, for example if it involves actions from other people in order to be successful, then you could easily get frustrated because you can only control yourself and your actions. Therefore, make sure your goals are actionable items that primarily depend on you to achieve them. In addition to these great tips from Mind Tools, I like to add an action plan for each goal. I break larger goals into smaller sub-goals and write out two-three actions necessary to achieve them. And remember that goals will evolve and change as time moves on. The goal you wrote down six months ago very well may have evolved into something different as circumstances change. Change and adaptation is part of the process so recognize and be comfortable with that however, also be mindful not to use change as a crutch for letting go of a goal that is still necessary and achievable. Evolve and flow with them. Lastly, offer yourself grace. I don’t know about you but I’m not perfect and when I revisited my goals from January there are a couple in which I haven’t made much progress. That’s ok, life is so busy and full, don’t beat yourself up, just review, adapt, and press onward.
David Roche, a runner and co-author of The Happy Runner provides some wise insight into setting running related goals. He offers these three guidelines in his article, “Get Better at Running by Setting Meaningful Goals”: Set goals based on process, not results. Know your why. Power yourself with kindness, enthusiasm, and belief. I encourage you to read his full article, as you continue on this ever evolving journey of being your best self each day.
I would like to challenge you if you did set goals with Michele to revisit them and update them. How have they changed? What progress have you made? What challenges have you faced? Perhaps they should be rewritten to be framed differently now than they were several months ago. That’s all just fine. If you didn’t create goals with Michele then how about some November goals instead of waiting until January? And as coincidence would have it, Michele and I are on the same page with this approach based on the upcoming Battle the Bulge Program she’s introducing. It’s total coincidence that I chose to write this article specifically not around the New Year and Michele rolls out Battle the Bulge at the same time. Great minds. This is a fantastic opportunity to tie goal setting into action, so I encourage you to check it out if you’re not on a current program with Michele or if you have a friend or family member who might be the perfect candidate. It’s a great way to jump start those November Resolutions. You can find more information on the Rugged Running website.
So, cheers to YOU as you are right now and as you choose to grow through your November Resolutions!