So it’s post-Christmas resolution time and a few weeks before the Malta marathon and half marathon. This means one thing … lots of runners pounding the streets at all times of the early morning, during the day, and late at night.
Some of these runners are on a motivational high, attempting to start off the new year with resolutions of ‘getting fitter’ and ‘losing weight’ to improve their own health and well being.
The other group of runners have different aims in mind, which involve getting the training in to prepare themselves as best they can for the ‘big day’. However there is one common theme for both these groups. A goal.
The human being functions best when there is a goal set and we work towards achieving that goal. However, in setting these goals, quite a number of goal setters are doomed to failure from the word go. This is a result of lack of planning.
When goal setting, be it in sports or in life, goals must be set with a plan in mind.
Let’s focus on the New Year resolution runners, whose goal is mainly to ‘get fit’ or ‘lose weight’. If this is the main goal, how would one confirm that they actually arrived to their goal? What
is the indicator of ‘fitness’ or that weight loss is achieved? Hence one must be more specific when goal setting.
The SMART system can be used when goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)
So, let’s go to our New Year resolution of a sedentary person and re-adjust the goal setting. If the goal is now “I want to be able to run 30 minutes, non-stop, within 3 months”, there is increased likelihood of arriving to this goal. This would be referred to as the long-term goal. This will most likely seem daunting to a non-active person, so then the best option is to break this down to smaller, bite-size goals. So for the first week, the goal may simply be to exercise by walking for 20 minutes three times a week. Once this box is ticked, new goals are set for the next week, keeping in mind the SMART system and the long- term goal for the final outcome.
If the goal setting is now directed towards the person who is training for their marathon or half marathon, the same SMART system can be used. Most runners will simply enter ‘to finish’ and that is one aim in itself, whilst others may add in a specific time frame in which to complete the distance. Some will achieve their goals, whilst some will
not. This would be the long-term goal. Yet many will be able to achieve much more if short-term goals are put into the training regime, so each achievement can be celebrated and then new goals are laid down.
Learning how to goal set with the SMART system can be used for any target in life and will enable one to achieve higher and better.