There has always been something about turning the page to a new year that inspires renewal and resolution. I would like to offer some thoughts about goal setting that may help you differentiate yourself from all of the other resolution runners and those overpopulating gyms for the next few weeks.
The Goal Has to Matter. Be very clear with yourself about why this goal matters to you and why it will continue to matter after the initial inspiration and novelty wear off. If you do not have at least one solid answer to this question you chances of success are zero.
The Goal Must be Exciting and Motivating. It is amazing how willing we are to do many things that are hard and unappealing if the goal continues to be motivating and is the reward. The initial motivation will ebb and flow, so the goal must be powerful enough to help you correct course over time.
Measure the Process and Habits. While motivation may falter from time to time, habits will keep you on track. Being able to measure the habits will help you through the tough spots. You can measure training days, miles, hours, training or race pace, subjective measures such as how your feel or anything that helps you towards your goal.
Keep Moving. Something is better than nothing. When you feel beat down or life is taking its' toll, just do something. Progress is not linear. It is what you do during the dips that will make all the difference in the end. Limit your losses and be ready for the next upswing.
Use Progress Reports to Correct Course. Schedule progress reports along the way to identify what is working and what stays and what is not working that either goes or gets repaired. You might even realize that you have been pointing towards the wrong goal and the destination needs adjusted. These progress reports should be often enough you don't stray too far off course, but spaced out enough that you can spot trends and know what needs fixed.
Find a Mentor. You take on some immediate measure of accountability once you tell the right person your intentions. Find someone with the wisdom of things learned the hard way and can help you with what you don't know you don't know. A good mentor should posses objectivity as well as wisdom to help you identify the obvious and not so obvious challenges and solutions along the way.
Are you ready to clarify you running purpose for 2017? Contact Coach Matt Ebersole to set up a goal setting session today!