2016 Running Goals

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This year I’ve determined that less is indeed more. Far too often, I’ve found myself striving to keep up with me – if that makes any sense. Admittedly, I’m sure I’ve said this before – I can be a bit much at times and do tend to want to do it all but just as goals need to be realistic so must I, which means scaling back on some things in order to maximize the opportunity for success in others.

As a result, thanks in large part to my year of growth and experience last year, I’ve found myself setting just a few running goals this year, which I’ll share with you – the privileged few who I keep up-to-date with all things running as it pertains to me. Here they are:

  • Complete the Boston Marathon in a time of 3:35:00.
  • Train hard and consistently, which means running at least 5/7 days of the week and doing a weekly long run (It is not by chance that this goal follows completing Boston)
  • Run two destination marathons
  • Add meaning to my miles: run at least one of my big races for charity
  • Begin training for a triathlon in the Spring, which means practicing swimming and biking (A triathlon was one of the things on my list last year that did not happen)
  • Run at least 2 races for fun in summer
  • Keep a daily log of my miles ( For shame I have attempted this in the past with no success)

To my way of thinking, I should be ok having set the foundation, insofar as my goals are “SMART,” but more importantly, realistic & time-bound, as we discussed last week. There is no inordinate amount of pressure to perform other than what is inherent in the activities outlined in order to present some challenge and momentum to do at my best. In the past, as recent as last year, I would always set way too many goals and end up not making at least two on my list much to my dismay and disappointment. This year I’ve realized that I don’t have to do it all “today” and even if I did fall short that would be ok too. What matters is that I’ve set about my year with realistic direction and purpose with the means and resources, as far as humanly possible, to get the job done and have some fun while doing it. No more self-recrimination for me.

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New Year, New You or Cliché?

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No one puts aside time and make the effort every year’s end to come up with a set of goals that they plan on never seeing to fruition. Truth is, by the time January 1st comes along we’re totally excited about putting the old year behind us and stepping into what we perceive as a new opportunity, another chance to make some changes or get it right – if you will. And why shouldn’t we? The new year does indeed provide an opportunity for a fresh start for many of us. The startling, but then, not-so-startling, thing is why when fostered by so much determination, strength of purpose and the personal drive to realize our goals at the beginning of the year do they fall through? And oftentimes when we’re less than halfway into the year. Survey results show that an average eight percent of our new year goals are achieved by the year’s end. What is it that causes us to fall by the wayside leaving goals, resolutions, determinations – however you see them – as dissapointing slivers of what-could-have-been-if-only-I-had-the-wherewithal-to-stick-with-it.

Chances are we may already have a fair idea for the reasons behind our inability to follow through, but I’ll go ahead and posit anyway that those very said goals that we are bent on achieving at the beginning of the year need to be mainly two things: realistic and subject to time constraints. This is the reason why many psychologists and other professionals agree that goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. I particularly latch on to realistic and time-bound because we need to be clear on the difference between dreams and goals as this can mean the difference between success and disappointment.
Dreams fall somewhere along the lines of fanciful and wishful. While many dreams do and can come throug it may not be prudent to set a dream you have as something you would like to achieve in a year’s time. Because a dream is inherently lacking in direction, focus, strategy, planning and sometimes even in reality it does not fulfill the “SMART” criteria and can be viewed as setting oneself up for failure. For example, I dream of running the World Marathon Majors Series; however, the chances of me fulfilling that next year is akin to impossible due to varying factors such as opportunity and money. Thus, that wikl not be listed as one of my goals for next year; maybe in a few years but not in 2016. See, goals need to be realistic. I can dream of doing many things, even talk myself into thinking I can do those many things but if at the end of the day there are insurmountable obstacles to prevent them happening and they remain unachievable then they are unrealistic. Realsitc goals are goals that can be achieved with resources you either have or can obtain in the time-frame needed. In addition to realistic, goals must be bound by a period of time. This way they’re easier to manage and provide you with the focus to get it done. An example would be to say, “next year I will run 4 marathons, 1 in each season.” From this you can tell I am pacing myself and providing ample kopportunity to run a marathon every 3 months.
While I could go on about goals being “SMART,” we’ve been over that so many times already I feel it’s important to point out that if you remember anything in setting yourself goals for next year it is to try to do it with someone – a buddy –  who can hold you and you can hold accountable. We, humans, respond better when we are held accountable to someone. We tend to be more committed, more focused, more motivated, we’re all-round better at performing or even out-performing when we have someone supporting, encouraging, demanding and providing insight. It is no secret we were never meant to walk this life alone nor should we have to face challenges alone. Life is better in twos or threes or fours or… you get the picture. Your Happy New You depends on you.

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