Friday, April 12, 2013

Goal Setting 101

As I get ready to head across the country to do a marathon, I realized that my training for said marathon is much like reaching any sort of goal whether for a physical challenge, a big prepping goal, building up an emergency fund, becoming a doctor or jet pilot, etc.  Here's how:

  1. Begin with the end in mind (probably one of the biggest advances in goal management in recent memory, thanks to Steven Covey).  You need to know specifically what you want to achieve so you will know when you have reached your goal.  Obviously this end product needs to be specific (I want to run a 26 mile marathon, not I want to be able to run far).
  2. Give yourself a reasonable, yet specific, amount of time to reach the goal (I will participate in the XX marathon on XX date).  If you say you will reach your goal "sometime" that time may never come.  Likewise, if you set an unreasonable timetable (I will go from couch potato to marathoner in two months) you probably won't reach your goal either.
  3. Make daily, reasonable progress towards your goal.  Get off the couch, walk around the block.  The next day do a half run, half walk around the block.  Lather, rinse, repeat; extending your efforts a bit each day.
  4. Seek help if needed.  The type of help needed, of course, depends on the goal.  If you are training for a marathon you may consider retaining the services of a running coach to help you improve your distance running skills or pick up a running partner to help keep yourself motivated.
  5. Exert gazelle intensity and effort towards reaching your goal.  Goals that make you say "meh" probably won't be achieved.  Ditto for goals that you only work hard on occasionally thinking you will make up for the missing effort later.
  6. Keep only one or two goals on your radar at a time.  It is much easier to focus on one or two goals until they are achieved rather than dispersing your effort among a dozen or more goals at the same time.
  7. Reach your goal.  Of course, with a major goal that requires major effort, there is the possibility that you could fail and not reach your goal at which point you would need to regroup and redouble your efforts (after figuring out why failure occurred) or throw in the towel and work on a different goal.  Either one are options; sometimes goals don't work out as you have planned, other times they loose their importance and your enthusiasm, but at least by making the effort you will benefit in some ways.  On the other hand, you may reach your goal and completely amaze yourself with what you have accomplished.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! I'm working along similar guidelines now and am beginning to see real progress being made.

    Roy Coker