Setting Goals the SMART Way
Failing is no fun!
Failing to follow through with the goals you set early in the year? Struggling to stay accountable, falling off if you miss a few workouts? If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. The quote has been used time and again because it’s relevant. The time you take to prepare, and process your goal is an investment in your ultimate success. The more time you take to break your goal down into its pieces, the more roadblocks and hurdles you remove from your path. This time investment on the front end is what takes you from flop to finish line. You allow what you tolerate; don’t let this year be the year you give up on your goals.
Building your goals the right way!
As coaches, we firmly believe that anything is possible. It’s our job to not only help athletes achieve goals but to see that they’re capable of more! We are guides, mentors, and cheerleaders to help you get from where you are, to where you want to be. We are invested in you and your success but we can‘t make it happen for you, we can‘t make you want something you don’t believe in.
Before we hop in, it’s best to build a list of goals. Don’t get lost in the athlete trap of only look at the clock to quantify your success. If you were to run a PR, after setting major milestones in your training, would you still consider your finish a failure? NO way! There is a lot to be gained through personal growth and achievement. Look to set 2 different kinds of goals.
– Time Goals
– Place [overall, Age Group]
– Personal Records, Age Graded Qualifiers
– Not Stopping, consistent running, completing mileage, finish all workouts
– Learning Oriented [fueling for long runs, pacing in a 5k]
– Building your Community [your run group, your family time]
– Gain personal knowledge. [How do you deal with a tough result? How do you overcome fear at the start-line?]
Share with us!
Share your goal setting photos on Instagram and use hashtags: #buildsomething #2018goals — don’t forget to tag us @lifelong_endurance!
Set goals that will drive you. Don’t put down a goal because it’s someone else’s, put down goals that are important to you. Goals that have meaning and will result in you walking away proud of yourself first! Set goals that have power behind them. Goals that you want so bad that they get you out bed in the morning. Put down goals that scare you, and might take more than your first try to accomplish. Dream Big!
Step 1 – Identify
When setting goals, start off by taking 5 minutes to sit down and think about what you want. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can add to this list later. Start by first writing down what you want! This could be ‘Run the boson marathon’, ‘finish my first 5k’, ‘improve my speed’ , ‘run 50 miles in one week’. You have to know what you want, even if you don’t know how to achieve it. Writing down your desires and intentions gives them life, and makes them powerful.
Step 2 – Quantify/Qualify
Take this list and reorder it according to what will take the longest for you to achieve (put these at the top), to the nearest achievable goals (put these near the bottom.) You may find that as you order the goals, some goals will become a ‘journey goal‘, or something that you must complete before you can achieve your top goal or another goal on your list. Example: If you want to run the Boston marathon, you need to first run a marathon under your qualifying time. This may also result in completing ancillary goals ex. running a new PR, running your highest mielage in a single week, running a race out of state. WARNING: You can get down a black hole of requirements but keep goals to second level goals. Using the statement ‘If I want to ________, I need to _________, _____________, and _______________. Keep it to 3 sub goals or requirements otherwise it can become very overwhelming.
Step 3- Take a SMART approach
SMART is an acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time. If you can measure it, you can manage it. This is a big reason we use tools like Strava, TrainingPeaks, and GPS devices. You can measure your progress and determine if the work you‘re doing is in the direction of your goals. The SMART methodology will help you answer the ‘How’ which is the biggest roadblock when athletes set goals. The answer behind how is often tackled with MORE. More Mileage, more days on the bike, more hours on the road, more laps in the pool. Once you work through the SMART steps you might find that what you‘re doing is enough to accomplish your goals, but you need to give room for time to see it come to fruition.
What do you want to accomplish? What will be accomplished? What actions will you take? Think of this as the requirements and power statement of what you want. This is where you can pull in that big goal and state proudly “I will _______!“
What will you use to measure your progress? What do you think it will take? What are outputs? How will you measure your progress? Measuring your goal is not something you do at the finish line. It‘s something you do your way along the way to it! Review performance along the way, look at workouts, compare your time to last years race. This is a great place to add in background goals or build up goals that will help you answer ‘how am I progressing towards my goals?‘
Is your goal achievable? Why? Do you have the skills you need to complete your goal? If not, how will you acquire them? Do you have the ability to achieve your goal? If not, how can you adapt to the requirements? Do you have the resources and tools to accomplish your goal? Do you need a training plan, a coach, or the accountability of a group? A lot of people fail at accomplishing their goals because they get distracted and never come back to course correct if they fall off the band wagon. IF your goals truly have power being them, you will find a way to achieve your goal
Where does this goal fall along the way to your ultimate journey? Why is it important? Will this goal be achievable if you have to accomplish it by yourself? This is where you have to really start to understand how all the piece fall into place. What happens if your group of friends can’t train for the half marathon, or the race gets cancelled, do you give up or find another race? Ask yourself ‘ is this my goal or someone elses?‘ if you‘ve gotten this far and you don’t own your progress front to back – you need to find someone or something that will help you do that. Answer the ‘Why?‘ and ‘Why is this important to me’ first!
What is the timeframe needed to accomplish this goal? If you don’t hit, your goal in a certain time frame does it disappear? Is this goal urgent? Now that we have all the components we need to answer who, where, and why, we need to answer when and start building a timeline. If you know that you can’t qualify and run Boston in the same year, you need to plan 2 years ahead. Before you can do that, you have to determine the answer to ‘how long will it take me to get in shape to qualify?‘ If you haven’t run a mile yet, it’s going to take a lot longer than if you just ran your last race and missed qualifying by 2 minutes. If you‘re struggling to answer this, start asking friends and use resources to determine what this timeline looks like. Someone has been where you are and can share their experience.
Find your path
You can set goals many ways, and their isn’t a perfect way to get from A to B. This is a method we use with our athletes when they find themselves going down a path but struggling to stay on a path or stick with a plan. This method takes time and effort and doesn’t pay out the same results fi you rush through it. Take your time and ask the tough questions. You may find that you will come back every couple of weeks with different answers and motivations.
Consider putting your goals in places you can see them. Make them public, and share with friends – when people know what you want, they can get behind you. Build your community, and your tribe – you will lean on these people when things get tough, or you question if you can realize your goal. It‘s once you give up that negative feeling of ‘no one cares’, you can become empowered! Build out all of these goals and reflect from time to time. It‘s when you look back after you crush your goals that you can see all the work it took to get what you wanted.
Get what you want! Go after it!