Setting goals and sticking to them
As we begin the first few days of 2017, many people’s thoughts turn to what 2016 has brought them, what they’ve achieved, what they’ve learnt through the tougher times and lastly, start to lay the foundations for what they plan to achieve for 2017.
Personally, it's always been important for me to have a goal or challenge in the pipeline. I grew up as a competitive swimmer, competing briefly in rowing for a short time, then once I hit my 20’s I dabbled in a bit of running and now am a keen triathlete. I’m not the fastest or strongest, I just love how swimming and cycling makes me feel. I love to feel stronger, healthier and like I am achieving something, improving, becoming better. I love the sense of elation and achievement at the end of a race, or reaching a goal I thought I’d never hit.
I wanted to share some of my tips and experience in goal setting.
why have a goal in place?
- Sense of achievement
- Personal growth
- Physical change
- Improve fitness levels – stronger, faster fitter.
- Creating a life balance
MY PERSONAL TIPS FOR SETTING AND STICKING TO A GOAL
Create a plan - The classic SMART goals do honestly work a treat: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realisic, Time-Framed
- Write down your goal - Remind yourself of the key reason why you want to achieve that goal
- Consistency - is key. Set weekly goals that will help you to get to your long term goals.
- Set short term, medium and long term goals. It’s so important to focus on short term goals to keep motivated.
Be Realistic - Set short term/medium term goals that you can stick to. Don't over commit yourself. It's better to stick to a couple of training sessions a week, then build upon these sessions over time:
- Motivation tactics – have a couple of motivational tactics in your back pocket for when you feel unmotivated/don't want to train/times get tough.
o Visualization – visualize how good you will feel after that training session, long run, sprint. Visualize yourself reaching your goal, how you will feel, let yourself feel the excitement.
o Positive reinforcement – I often have a few words that I repeat to myself when it gets tough, climbing that big hill; 'stronger’, 'technique', ‘tight core', 'heel to toe', 'long stride'.
o Reward - keep rewarding yourself when you smash your short term and medium term goals.
- Allow for flexibility – Don’t stress if a session or short term goal doesn't go to plan. You may have to miss a session because of life commitments. Allow for flexibility in your plans to hit your goals. Allow adopting your plans throughout the journey.
- Write a diary – It doesn’t have to be long, even a few points will do. Note down what’s gone right or wrong in each session, what you have learnt from that session, what you will continue doing or what you will change for next time.
- Surround yourself with like minded people, who you can share your wins or fails, and the whole journey with.
And finally - enjoy the journey!