Create Long Term Goals: A long term goal should be one that is presently out of reach, challenging, yet achievable. An example for new runners would be to complete their first 5K in the spring. Long term goals should be something that will take you at least three months (far enough away to be challenging).
Break Long Term Goals into Short Goals: To keep you motivated toward your long term goal, create short term goals that take you to your final destination. Keeping with our new runner example, short term goals could be; completing your first mile without walking, reaching 2 miles or running 30 minutes without stopping.
Write Down Your Goals: Put your goals down on paper. Tell your family and friends. Hang them up all over the house. Put written goals in places that you can see every morning, throughout the day and at night. Put milestones on your calendar or as reminders for your smart phone. You will be surprised to see how you can be motivated at a moment of need by seeing your goals or hearing a friend ask you about your goals.
Enlist a Friend: If you have the opportunity to share a goal with a friend that is great! Having a training "buddy" helps to keep you motivated. In today's age of technology and inline connections, your training buddy doesn't even need to be located near you. You can have virtual training buddies by posting your training on Face Book with a friend, using running sites like The Daily Mile or even emailing back and forth to a friend.
If you can’t find a training buddy, then solicit a friend to keep track of your schedule and training. Ask them to keep you motivated to ensure that you are completing your scheduled training. Give them incentive like a dinner out on you every month if they keep you on schedule and motivated.
Additional Tips to Achieving Your Goals
Plan Ahead: Set your workout schedule at the beginning of the week, putting on your calendar your workouts. Expect to miss some, but pick up where you left off and move forward.
Track Progress: Write down your progress. Create a diary or journal that includes your workouts, times, how you felt, etc. Review your progress as you move forward to keep motivated and committed.
Don't Give Up: Expect setbacks or failures but don't give in to them. The first time we try, we don't often succeed, but it is the persistent person who fights through challenges and setbacks that will succeed.
Celebrate Every Goal: Long term or short term goal, celebrate every success. Early on, make them easier celebrations; making it to the gym every planned day of the week, hitting all my running goals of the week, completing my first mile. How you celebrate is up to you; however make sure it doesn't hurt your overall goal.
I hope these tips help you to creating and achieving your goals. Practicing what I preach, here are my 2012 running goals. Hopefully you visit us often to see how I am doing with my goals.
A consistent 5K time under 29 minutes
A consistent 10K time under 60 minutes
Body fat percentage under 20%
To complete a half-marathon (Sept 2012)
All the best this year,
What are your goals for this year? Leave a comment letting us know.