Let’s talk about goals today!
As it seems with many other runners, coaches, and bloggers, I thrive on setting goals. I am, by nature, a goal-driven person. That’s why I love running, especially since I shifted away from the deadline-focused nature of academia. I love setting goals and I love the pursuit of them. Even if I don’t achieve them the first time around, I never regret a goal and my work towards its achievement.
I will share with you my personal goals for 2016 soon, but this blog isn’t just about me and my running: it’s about helping YOU achieve your personal best in running, however you may define your personal best. Today, I wish to offer a single and valuable piece of advice for your running and fitness goals for 2016. Of course, this advice applies to all goals, whether in career, family, or the many other aspects of life.
For 2016, I want to see you set bold yet realistic goals.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever encountered on running goals comes from Brad Hudson’s Run Faster from the 5K to Marathon (the book that’s my go-to for training right now). “In fact, I’m fond of saying that the best goal setters achieve their race time goals only half the time,” Hudson writes. “If you always achieve your goals, you are surely setting them to low. And if you never achieve your goals, clearly they are too ambitious.”
That’s right: aim to achieve your goals only 50% of the time. Strive for a balance between bold, of dreaming and setting your sights high, and realistic, where you work with what you have right now. Be both a dreamer and a doer. Throw yourself boldly into the pursuit of an accomplishment that’s beyond your reach and be realistic in how you pursue that goal.
There’s something utterly unnerving about being bold in your goals. To be bold, you must dispel fear of failure and embrace those times in which you will fall short. You must come to view unsuccessful attempts at your goals as stepping stones on your way to achievement and as little victories in their own right, because you still poured all you had into it and tried.
The truth is, I fell short of all of my major running goals in 2016. Yes, I ran a personal best for the half marathon and I finished my first marathon in 3:49:32. But that 1:43 in the half was not the 1:39 I trained for, nor did my marathon time punch a ticket to Boston. Do I regret setting those bold goals and pouring my time, energy, and passion into the pursuit of them? Not for a moment. In fact, I’m grateful for those missed goals. They set a fire of determination burning. They taught me not to give up, and they reminded me to always dream big.
To be realistic about goals is to respect your body, your schedule, and your limitations. You don’t want to drive your body into the ground through overtraining or injure yourself before you even cross the starting line. You do want goals that will help you grow as a person and nourish your confidence, not leaving you feeling deflated. Realistic goals have realistic plans for achievement; you do not want to set a goal to run a 3 hour marathon in one month when your current PR is 4 hours, nor is your goal realistic if it is not clearly defined.
Yet here’s the catch about being realistic about your goals: most of us don’t set realistic goals, because we set our goals too low and hold ourselves back. You are often capable of more than you realize. To be realistic about your goals is to stop hiding behind fear and recognize just how much you can truly achieve when you dispel self-doubt and dedicate yourself to a goal. Don’t sell yourself short and set goals that are too attainable: you are only doing yourself a disservice. Fear of failure is something I frequently struggle to overcome, as I’m sure it is for many of you. But this fear isn’t realistic; as Ryan often reminds me, failure only happens when you don’t try.
This is why I started my own business as a running coach: to help runners set, train for, and achieve bold yet realistic goals, to help them surpasses their own self-imposed limitations while also training smartly and effectively. If you are determined to set bold goals and work towards them with a realistic plan in 2016, then consider working with me – I would love to help you achieve your personal best for 2016!
Next Wednesday I’ll be talking about my own goals for 2016, and the final two Wednesday of the year will focus on more tips and resources for setting your 2016 goals. In January 2016, I’ll be offering a series with tips for achieving specific goals, such as a sub-2 hour half marathon or running your first marathon. Please let me know what goals you would like to see discussed!
Do you enjoy reading posts about goals and goal setting? What specific running related goal would you like to see addressed in a post?
How can you be bold in your goals for 2016?
Does fear of failure hold you back?