Each year, on the first day of track practice, the coaches would send us home with a goal setting sheet to be returned to them by the end of the week. My initial reaction was, ‘wow, thanks, I really wanted another piece of homework to add to the pile.’ However, when I sat down at my desk, I was amazed at the good that came from filling it out- I felt focused, prepared, connected.
Now that I’m no longer a track athlete, I have wasted days, turned to weeks, turned to months being lazy. There is no longer that specific goal on the horizon to latch onto, no laid out plan for how to get there. How do you motivate yourself in the real world?! Normal people amaze me!
Now that I finally feel tired of enabling my couch potato lifestyle, I’m turning back to the goal setting that was ingrained into me. It turned out something my coaches taught me actually translates into normal life (who would’ve thought?!).
Now, you may be thinking, this is the worst blog article you’ve ever read, because who doesn’t know how to set a goal? Well, don’t tune me out yet. We aren’t talking just simple goal setting- we’re talking setting the best goal possible for you, individually! And there’s a big difference!
SMART goals- a popular goal setting model for businesses is what I used as an athlete, and it is what I will continue to swear by. Each letter is laid out below, and each is important. I encourage you to follow along with a pen and paper, and consider how these categories might fit into your big dreams.
What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
This is only about you, so the more specific the better! Think: what type of exercise do you like doing, what type of results do you want to see, what race do you want to run?
How will you know you met your goal?
Find a number to reach for. If you want to lose weight- set the pounds, if you want to be able to walk or run for longer- set the distance, if you want to shave some time off a race- how much?
Not too far to reach, but far enough to be challenging.
Not all of us can be Olympic athletes, and that’s okay! Be fair to yourself in making your goals. It is not good for the motivation (or the heart) to create a goal for yourself that can’t ever be reached.
Link the goal to something important to you, something that inspires you.
What is your meaning in working out? Perhaps you workout to keep up with your kids or grandkids, to stay healthy, or to submit that mountain you always wanted to. Whatever it is, let that be known- that is the heart that will keep you going.
When do you want your goal to be met?
Keep in mind smaller short-term goals are a great way to motivate yourself, achieving a small goal will “enable” you to achieve an even greater goal.
Now that you have your goals determined and in mind, it is so much easier to make a workout plan from here! Remember, you want your workouts to fit with that end goal. For example, if you’re running a marathon, you don’t want to do just any sort of exercise to prepare- for example, heavy weight lifting probably wouldn’t be appropriate.
Take the necessary measures that will allow you success. If you don’t know what workouts are appropriate to reach your goals, I encourage you to find someone to talk to who does know!
Let's get focused,
PK Fitness Program Coordinator