I'm a 'Newbie' to this whole forum thing and posted a reply to Dawn's great goal setting thread.....just to realise the thread is 5 months old and probably nobody will ever see me response!
So I'm going to re-post it below and like I said in my original message you're all welcome to take from it what you will. I originally wrote the article for a Health and Fitness magazine in New Zealand earlier this year. In hindsight, now is a great time to re-evaluate the goals you set in response to Dawns thread and start thinking about if you achieved them, where to go from here if you did, and how you can better achieve your goals next time if you didn't quite make it!
You'll have to excuse any references to the Olympics as that was my goal at the time of writing....a goal that sadly got away!! But sometimes we learn more from not achieving our goals, it's just how we reflect upon this apparent failure that in turn motivates us to greater accomplishments!
Good as Goals:
Sam Warriner circa 2005:
The alarm bursts into life and I scramble to silence it before it screams the house down. It’s 4.30am and I’m sure it’s been just minutes since I fell into bed exhausted. Breakfast consists of a couple of slices of toast and a coffee. Then it’s out the door and into the night.
The 20 kilometre ride to the pool helps me get psyched for the 240 lengths ahead. Then it’s another mad dash to Whangarei Girls High in time for Miss Warriner to put on her other face.
After spending the morning talking about everything from hockey skills to sexual health, lunchtime arrives and I sprint up the road to the local gym to fit in a weights session. In 50 minutes, I expend more energy than most would in a day, and then it’s back for two more periods of school.
The bell goes once more, as if to signify yet another battle round. And a battle is just what the next two hours turn out to be, with my coach pushing me in the run session from Hell. I return to school leg-weary to write up the following day’s lessons. An hour later, it’s a brisk 20 kilometre pedal home in time for dinner. Exhaustion is becoming surprisingly normal!
Fast-forward to 2008:
That was just an average weekday for me back in 2005. Like most, I had to work to pay the bills. I had already been to the Athens Olympics at that stage and won two ITU World Cups. I look back now and wonder just how I did it. How did I fit everything in? And the only answer I can give is that I had goals and a desire to achieve them.
Why do I set goals?
- They give me a clear target – gold in Beijing.
- They help my time management.
- They provide motivation and inspiration – I constantly visualise winning gold at the 2008 Olympics.
- They help me prioritise.
- They give me a road map of how to get to where I want to be.
This past summer has been awesome, and not just because of the weather. There have been so many different events to train for that you couldn’t fail to find one to test you. Whether you’re a Real Woman, a More FM woman or even one of Sarah’s loyal Sub girls, the choice of events has been just fabulous for we females. Now, however, with the end of summer comes the most important time of the year. It’s time to reflect on what you’ve achieved and then plan how you’re going to have an even better season in 2009.
Setting successful goals takes two steps
First, decide on a goal. Second, you must actually plan how you are going to achieve it. This is where most people fall down. It’s easy to wake up one day and say: “Right, next year I’m going to finish the Ironman”. The hard thing is knowing how to do it.
Any journey needs a map and planned route. Goals are the same. They remain dreams unless you can plan how to get there.
Step 1 Set those goals
Long-term goals (LTG)
The LTG is what gets you out of bed on a cold, wet morning. Without one, it would be much easier to turn off the alarm and roll over! It needs to be realistic and meaningful to you. Decide on something you’ve always wanted to do, and make sure you challenge yourself to dream high!
Short-term or progressive goals (STG)
These are the stepping-stones that get you towards your LTG. If you were a novice triathlete, you wouldn’t jump straight into an Olympic distance event. You’d set the short-term goal of finishing a local fun run or ride first. The key is to achieve your STGs and gain the confidence that you can master LTG.
Process Goals (PG)
For me, every session has a PG. Some days, that can mean four or five different technical things to focus on, which can really help keep a boring session interesting. For you, it could be as simple as spending 30 minutes power-walking. If that’s a step towards your LTG, then get out there and pound that pavement!
Step 2 Make your goals a reality
To make our goals real, we need to continually re-visit them. Write them down in the front of your diary, so that every time you open it, up they are staring right back at you, keeping you honest. Mine are written on the bathroom mirror, so I see them first thing in the morning and last thing at night, as I clean my teeth.
Using the three-goal method also allows you to reward yourself with each achievement. I regularly do this by way of a massage, a glass of wine or a girl’s ‘pamper night’. If I’ve worked hard or achieved a STG, I congratulate myself.
Every night, before I go to bed, I ask myself if there is anything I could have done better that day. If the answer is no, then I know the day was a good one.
A life with well-planned goals
Achieving goals comes down to your mindset, so don’t place limitations on your imagination when you’re planning them. You often hear people saying that goals should be realistic. I say that if you want something badly enough, you’ll go out there and make your own reality. Dream high.
When I started in triathlon it was all about getting fit and losing weight. I had just turned 30. With my friend Bart, we would ride to work on alternate days, rewarding ourselves with an ice cream on the way home. On the other days, we would swim lengths at the local pool, gradually increasing the number we did.
I began my racing with a local short triathlon. I enjoyed it so much that I aimed at a longer event, and from then on, my goal was to get faster. Before I knew it, I was second in my age group at the 2001 World Championships. I then watched the professionals race the following day and said to myself, “next year, that will be me”.
In 2002, I achieved that goal. I came in just about last, but that simply made me set about becoming faster, so that I might finish in the top 20 the following year. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, six years on, I’m living my own personal dream, winning World Cup races, and continually re-setting goals and working away at achieving them. I have always set goals based on what I believe I can achieve. Each one was a small, but challenging, towards improving myself.
I hope I’ve motivated you in some small way. Now’s, the time to sit down, reflect on where you are at, and – more importantly – decide where you want to be. Set a new LTG and plan the STGs to get there.
Check out my website: www.sweat7.com If you look under ‘Get sorted on Goals’, you’ll find an easy-to-use goal-setting form. Print it off and put it in your diary! Never mind how big or small your aim; if you believe, you’ll achieve. It’s all in the mind. Set the goal, make the time, and you will see just how rewarding and fulfilling it can be for all areas of your life and health. And, next issue, we’ll look at some basic training tips to start bringing your dreams a little closer to reality, regardless of your background and other commitments.
Example of bad goal-setting:
Goals for 2009: I am going to run/walk a half-marathon in less than two hours.
It’s a bad goal, because:
- There’s no timeline of when the event is.
- There’s no action plan of how you are going to do it.
Example of good goal-setting:
LTG for 2009: I am going to run the Auckland Half-Marathon in less than two hours in October.
STGs to get there:
- I am going to run every other day, so by the end of August I can complete that distance.
- I am going to join a local/walk run club and ask my friend to come with me.
- I will aim to do the local 10km race series in Auckland for fun and to see how I’m improving.
- I will include hills in my training from July, as the course is hilly. I will start with three hill reps of Northcote Rd and increase to eight by the end of August.
- I will focus on relaxing my breathing as I get into my rhythm of running or walking.
- I will aim to run for five minutes longer than last week every time I train.
- I will have a shorter recovery in between my walk/run effort.
- I will get up the hill faster this time.
- I will focus on pumping my arms as I drive up the hill, lifting my feet up, kicking my heels up to my butt quicker, and keeping my hips forward and working.
http://www.sweat7.com - Coaching for Newbies
http://www.samwarriner.co.nz - That's just me!