How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? A little less exciting as February comes a- calling?
At the beginning of each year, there’s a lot of pressure to make big, dramatic changes through resolutions. A lot of people use the year-end as a time for reflection and a marker for a fresh start. This is all well-intentioned, yet the REAL challenge is actually keeping up with those goals throughout the year…
New year, new me?
When I was asked to write this article, I thought the timing was pretty amusing. Usually, I don’t really buy into the whole “New Year, New Me!” thing. But funny enough, this January I actually happened to be at a point personally where I needed to review my running goals. Turns out, I had accidentally completed mine about 1.5 months early and was (am!) really stumped about what to focus on next…
I’ve been on my running journey for about four years now. I’ve learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t when it comes to goals. For starters, they are NOT OPTIONAL. I absolutely need them or else I don’t accomplish nearly as much (ok, let’s be honest, anything). Goal setting allows me to focus and plan what I want to achieve in terms of running success and growth in the next few months or year.
As I move forward with my own goal setting, here’s what I’m going to be making sure I do in order to be successful – you can use these tips too! (You’re welcome).
Tips for Reaching your Goals
- Be Realistic. I always start by asking myself: will my timelines and other commitments fit in with what I want to accomplish? There’s a ton of stuff going on in my life: work demands, personal commitments, etc. so I need to consider what I’ll need to rearrange to make sure I can accomplish my goals. For me at this point, I know that a 5km run is far less demanding than carving out the time for a longer run. When I’m setting goals and milestones, I make it part of my process to evaluate distances against other things coming up in my life.
- Schedule in extra time. I have a reputation for my colour coded agenda that keeps ALL of my life organized. Experience has taught me that not only do I need to plan time for the actual running, but time also needs to be put aside for the warming up, the cooling down, the strength training that will boost my performance, even the extra laundry that needs to take place so I have what I need! If you’re setting out in the beginner stages of any new goal, be prepared that there may be many more time-sucks involved that you didn’t necessarily anticipate.
- Find support. This could be from family or friends; or try finding a mentor or role model. Support can come from anyone who can encourage you or share their knowledge. I only started running when a friend asked me to train with them and then it slowly became part of my own routine as I took ownership over it. Conveniently, we had another friend we could enlist to teach us how to start. But really, it was just as important to have friends and family know what we were working on, and the subsequent accountability, that helped us reach our goals.
- Stay focussed. I always find that breaking tasks down and putting them into your schedule as achievable chunks is a good first step. I really embrace to-do lists and like being able to cross items off! Thinking bigger picture: surround yourself with things that will help keep your goals in mind. For example, follow social media accounts, listen to podcasts, and read books on the topic of your goal. This will ensure you engage with your goals more frequently and stay on track.
- No D’s. With the kids in our programs, we talk about how at Moorelands Kids we don’t do D’s – no disrespecting, demeaning or diminishing anyone. This is a pretty easy thing to learn. The more challenging concept is No Self-D’s. The way you speak about yourself, your effort and your ability, etc. will impact your determination and goals. Hiccups will occur, unforeseen circumstances pop up, and some days (especially with long-term goals) will seem like ten steps backward as challenges occur. Being kind to yourself and others in these moments is especially important. The way you talk/think about your goals will have a large impact on your willingness to spend time on them and to work through the harder parts.
by Jodi Thompson, Moorelands Kids’ City Programs Manager