Setting goals for ourselves isn’t something I think most people lack. The struggle is actually sticking to those goals. New Years resolutions are always popular, but most people break their resolutions before January has even concluded. I think we imagine the things we’d like to achieve, but we don’t always thoroughly evaluate how to achieve them and the result is abandoning them or even failure. I’m guilty of this as anyone else, but I have discovered a way to make it work. Here’s some helpful strategies to making goals that work for you, and these can apply to anything in life, not just running goals.
- Don’t just pick 1 big goal like “I’m going to lose 45 pounds”, add medium and small goals too. Like, “I will work out 3 days a week no matter what” or “I will give up pop/soda and energy drinks”. Focus on small things you can work on and give yourself credit for everyday. Find things that will help you build towards that super big giant goal.
- Stay flexible. I made a pretty long list of goals last January. One of my big goals was to run 1,000 miles by year end. By mid February I knew that wasn’t going to happen. It just wasn’t realistic with my lifestyle at the time so instead of just giving up on it I switched my big goal to a “20 Mile Solo Run”. I’d never ran that far alone before and I knew I’d have to train my butt off to reach it. The result was ultimately the same. My confidence was built and my commitment to running was regularly fueled.
- Be Realistic. This is hard, but it’s kind of what I had to come to terms with on my 1,000 miles goal. If your goal is to take a trip to Paris that year and you don’t have the $$$ to make it to the holiday inn around the corner you should probably reconsider your goal. Research a plan and see if it’s even possible, or put it on the bottom of your list as a long term goal with a list of items you need to achieve that. Patience and dedication to something you’ve dreamed about will pay off, but ultimately you want to set yourself up for success.
- Make a plan that you can stick to. Having a goal is one thing, the follow through is the hard part. If you set yourself up for a plan with a series of steps to help you get to where you want to be it will make the process seem less overwhelming and will be more attainable.
- Visualize regularly how it will feel to succeed. This sounds a bit crazy, but when I have a big run or a race planned I suffer terrible anxiety. What helps me before and even during the run is thinking about how it will feel to have already accomplished it. I imagine the way I will feel, the things I will say, and often what I will eat!
Running has been one big life metaphor and lesson for me. Each run has been an opportunity to discover some lesson about myself or how I approach life. I have had my first really successful year in running (and life) in six years. It can be attributed that to my messy little list of goals I started at the beginning of 2018. Sure, there was a big goal on there, but I also had small daily or weekly goals to meet. My mantra was and is: #noexcuses. In the end I worked hard to achieve all of the things on there, big and small. If I can do it, you can too!