The importance of setting goals to help you reach things you may think are unachievable
Highly successful individuals are big on setting goals for themselves. This is why it is important to apply goal setting to things you would like to accomplish in running or triathlon. Say what you are going to do and then do what you said you were going to do. Goal setting in running or triathlon does a few things. They can hold you accountable, be motivating, and build confidence. Here are some strategies in goal setting that can lead you to success.
The ABC’s of Goal Setting
Set an “A” Goal.
Your “A” goal is one that may seem beyond what you can achieve or highly unlikely unless things go perfectly. If you can stay focused on your longterm “A” goal, this can give you all the motivation you need to do all the small things along the way that ultimately leads you to achieve it. “A” goals can also be overwhelming and cause people to give up because they seem impossible at times. This is why “B”, and “C” goals are important. This is typically a private goal that only you or a few people know about.
Example: I want to come in first place this year at The Rookie Tri.
Your “B” goal is a goal that you would be happy to achieve and you are pretty certain if you put in the work, you will reach it. “B” goals are good to share with others to give you some outside accountability. Reaching “B” goals are also what you need to achieve to keep you working towards your “A” goal. The idea is for all your smaller achievements to build into larger achievements.
Example: I want to finish in the top 5 of my age group.
Example: I want to set a new PR.
Have a few “C” Goals.
“C” goals are the lower hanging fruit that gives you your daily motivation, keeps you on task, and builds your confidence to reach higher goals. Your “C” goals are built into your daily routine and without accomplishing these, there is no way to achieve the others. These can be goals that cover your eating habits, sleeping habits, training mileage, social health, mental health, work-life balance, etc.
Example: Get 8 hours of sleep each night.
Example: Hit my weekly training mileage goals.
Example: Maintain a diet that gives me all the nutrition I need to stay strong and healthy.
Pro Tips to Setting Goals:
- Set realistic goals: Be realistic about where you are currently at and start setting your goals from there.
- Set goals that build on each other: Make sure you are thinking strategically about how achieving some of your lower goals will allow you to reach the higher ones.
- Adjust your lower goals: Adjusting your lower goals are important because life throws you curveballs sometimes and it is key to experience success in your daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Without these successes, you will become frustrated and give up.
- Reward: Last but not least, set up a little reward system for yourself. There is enough negative reinforcement tied to not reaching your goals, but in general you need positive reinforcement to make the process enjoyable. To reach goals you also have to sacrifice. It is OK to reward yourself with small amounts of things you are giving up to achieve your goals.
Example: If I hit my weekly diet, sleep, and training mileage goals, I get to have my favorite but not-so-healthy meal on Saturday night.
In summary, goals are very important to get where you want to go. Make sure your goals build on each other, be realistic about where you are starting, adjust for success as you go, and reward yourself along the way.