|Chris Wodke at 2012 Boston Marathon|
"Dreams without goals remain dreams and fuel disappointment.....goals cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency." -Denzel Washington
Lot's of new year resolutions will be made in the next few days. Many good intentions will last a few weeks and slowly fade away. A resolutions is a sort of goal, but many are not successful because they are vague dreams ending in frustration.
There are a few steps you can take to help make your resolutions successful. The first step is to set SMART goals.
Be as specific as you can when setting a goal. Losing weight is a vague goal. Running the Boston Marathon in April of 2015 is specific. If you have a weight loss goal, attach a number to it or better yet, don't make that your goal. Set a goal like running a specific race. The training will help you to lose the weight.
The goal should be measurable. A few years ago I set a goal to run the Boston Marathon in 2012. That is specific and measurable. Better yet my coach last year set a goal of completing the race in 4 hours 51 minutes. How is that for specific? I hit it exactly.
Write a goal where you can measure success. Try to break the goal down into smaller pieces, then celebrate success each time you achieve a part. To get to Boston I first had to set a goal to run the Madison marathon in a qualifying time of 6 hours. Making progress toward the goal can keep you energized when you see your progress. Maybe you decide to be more active and lose 2 pounds a week. A weekly weigh in will tell you how you are doing.
This is a really important piece. Aim too high and you will just get discouraged and quit. Setting a goal you know you cannot reach is kind of pointless. Pick something that is a bit of a stretch, but is possible. Setting a tough but obtainable goal can force some personal growth.
Last year I set the goal of qualifying for the World Championship in Aquathon as an age group athlete. The swim part of the race was 1500 meters, twice as long as I had ever done in a race. So I set the goal of competing that distance in practice. When I did it in practice, I celebrated by signing up for the race. Be sure to celebrate the success of achieve a step that will bring you to your overall goal.
Set a goal that does not depend on anyone else or anything that is not under your control. Make is something you have a chance of achieving. If you set a goal to run a marathon in a few months but have not run a step or done a race in years, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Do you have the time to do the steps needed to reach your goal? Do you have the discipline? Can you be consistent in doing the things you need to do? Do you have the desire to make the changes needed? Do you have the resources? Take an honest look at your situation. If you have a couple of kids and a busy career you may not have the time and money to train for an Ironman race or a marathon.
Put a time on your goal. When I decided to run my first Boston Marathon, I set April 2012 as the date. If I had not put a time to it, running Boston would have remained some vague goal or dream. By putting down that date, I started to take the steps to get me to Boston. I signed up for a qualifying race, I training, and I applied for my spot in the race.
I take an additional step when I have a goal, I write it down and I post it on my board at work. Writing down a goal is very powerful. There was a study down in the 1950's of a group of Ivy League graduates. A group of 10 percent of the class was asked to write down their goals. The others did not. The group was tracked for 10 years. It was found that the 10 percent out performed the other 90 percent.
Your mind will begin to focus on your goal when you write it down. Try it and see.
Then also write out all the actions you need to take to make your goal happen. Let's say your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the time of your class reunion in June 2015. That meets the criteria of a SMART goal.
What do you have to do to make that happen? Do you need to take up running or some other daily activity? Do you need to start taking your lunch to work instead of eating out at lunch? Do you need to join a gym? Do you need to sign up for a race to stay motivated. Do you need to track your progress each week in terms of activity or weight loss? These steps will be personal. Pick things that will work for you and move you toward your goal.
I found when my goal was to run the Boston Marathon I had a whole list of things I needed to do. I had to pick my qualifying races and come up with an 18 week training plan once I picked my race. I also picked a back up race in case I didn't qualify with my first race.
I logged my training every day. I signed up for my race and made the travel arrangements. I knew what time I needed to hit to qualify.I did lots of 10K races to gauge my progress. That kept me motivated.
There were plenty of times when it was tough to get my workouts in. Achieving a goal is not easy. You have to have the desire and discipline to do the planning and the work. But I promise it is worth it. I hope you have a year of successfully achieving your resolutions.
Sometime in the next week perhaps I will share some of my athletic goals for 2015 and some of the things I will be doing to get there. I know how important goal setting and planning can be.
You will have your greatest success in your life with a little goal setting and planning!
In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team