With the New Year upon us, millions of us are scrambling trying to put our resolutions or goals together, feeling like the pressure of the world is upon us and that if we don’t set any, nothing will happen this year. Well just hold on and think it out clearly and be SMART about it. SMART goals aren’t just for businesses, they are just as important for athletes, because if they aren’t clear and concise, you may jeopardize your season.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
Be Specific – This needs to include the 5Ws – Why, When, What, Where, Who? Who is involved in this goal? When is it? Where is it? What is my goal? And most importantly, Why do I want to set this goal?
Measurable – How are you going to measure your progress? Logging your progress is important. Have a baseline and go from there. Measure it daily, weekly, and/or monthly. Without logging your progress, how do you know if you will reach your goal? For my athletes, I use an online program called Training Peaks. We can schedule their workouts, track their progress and see where they started and will finish.
Attainable – With present conditions or restrictions in your life are your goals attainable? With an attainable goal, you will develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them.
Realistic – A goal must represent something you are able and willing to work towards. You are the only one who knows if it can be too high or realistic. Setting your goals high, will make you work harder to achieve them. But set them too high and you will get frustrated and lose interest. The same will hold true if they are set too low, you will get bored and lose interest.
Timely – You need a time frame for your goal. A start and a finish. Without these, you don’t have a sense of urgency. Therefore, minimizing your chances of achieving your goals.
So an example of your SMART goal could look like this:
It is January 1, I will run the XYZ Marathon on May 4 in a time of 3:30. This is possible as I have the time available and have recently run a half marathon in 1:45 without properly training, therefore, with a plan in place by my coach, I will be able to do this.
Once you have your SMART goals, make sure you write them down!! It’s one thing to have them in your mind, but if it isn’t on “paper”, then they are just thoughts and wishes! Also, go back and review and reassess your goals once in a while. Sometimes, unforeseen life events may slow down your progress or maybe you are attaining your goals faster than anticipated. Either way, it’s always good to go back and check in on yourself.