Goals for 2015 : Train, Transform, Transcend...

Goals for 2015

by T3 Running - Michael Barnes on 12/31/14

After speaking with a friend recently about upcoming New Year’s resolutions, it came to mind that the term, “resolution” has a tradition rich in cynicism and negativity.  We all make these broad resolutions (i.e. get control of finances, get in shape, work on my marriage).  Those that we tell seemingly roll their eyes as quickly as the words roll off our tongues.  “I’ve heard that one before”, they mumble softly to themselves.

It’s estimated that over half of Americans will make some sort of resolution this year, but only 8% will actually keep those resolutions.  By definition, resolution is the firm determination to do something.  This year, I vowed not to use the word resolution, but rather goal.  Goal, by definition is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.  I am not a marriage counselor, financial advisor, or parenting expert; however, some of the principles below may help in these areas.  My goal setting guidelines for running are listed below.  Again, they probably also apply to other aspects of your life and goal setting. 

Reduce the number of goals that you set.  Research has shown that if you rattle off 10-12 goals that in a short amount of time, you cannot keep up with them and one by one they fall by the wayside.  Instead, focus on a handful of goals that you can repeat almost from memory.  I came across some information that may help in the area of goal setting.

1.     Use the acronym “SMART.” 

Specific—your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish.


Bad: “Begin a running program.”


Good: "Run the St. Jude marathon in 2015."


Measurable—Make your goal measurable.  You will want to know if you meet your goal.


Bad: “Be the best cross country runner I can be.”


Good: “Run under 17:00 for a 5k.”


Actionable—every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)


Bad: "Be more consistent in my running."


Good: "Run 5 times a week."


Realistic—Your goals must be within the realm of possibility.  A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.


Bad: "Win the Boston marathon."


Good: "Set a Personal Record (PR) in the Boston marathon."


Time-bound—Your goals need an end date associated with them.  By what date do you plan to reach your goal.


Bad: "Participate in an Ironman triathlon."


Good: "Become an Ironman by December 31, 2015."


2. Write down your goals.  This is a very important aspect to the process of goal setting.  When you write something down, in a sense, you are stating your intention and setting things in motion.

3. Review them frequently.  With our goals clearly defined and written down, there becomes a need to review them on a regular basis.  If your goal was to run a sub 3 marathon, are you taking the steps to reach that goal by the date that you set?  Review your goals daily, weekly, or monthly.  Years ago, when I set a goal to run a sub 3 marathon, I set the alarm on my watch every day to 2:59 p.m.  Use this as a source of inspiration.

4.    Share your goals selectively.   This is the tricky part.  You would think that by sharing your goals with others, you have a sense of accountability with those that you have shared.  Most people that we tell our goals to will forget them as soon as we tell them about them.  Sometimes, sharing our goals with many gives us a sense of accomplishment already and the likelihood of reaching that goal diminishes.  Again, for others, telling a select few and allowing them the opportunity to keep you accountable works.  Tell a training partner your goals and allow them the opportunity to help you reach that goal.  I would warn about sharing your goal with anyone who it not committed to helping you achieve them (i.e. unsupportive spouse, rival, etc.).

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.  Once you have clearly defined your goals, make a plan to reach them.  Consult a coach or friend to assist with the plan.  As with anything we set out to do, some goals are going to be met, some are not, and that is fine.   We don’t always reach our goals.  As they say, “Aim high!”  Fear of failure is one of the greatest fears people have when personal goal setting.  Fear of failure is closely related to fear of criticism and fear of rejection.  Successful people overcome their fear of failure.  Fear incapacitates unsuccessful people.  The Law of Feedback states: there is no failure; there is only feedback.  Successful people look at mistakes as outcomes or results, not as failure.  Unsuccessful people look at mistakes as permanent and personal.   Set a goal and reach it!  Train, transform, transcend.


Coach Mike




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