Okay, my friends…let’s talk for a minute about GOALS…
No…not those kind of goals (but, please note that is my professional team there…Louisville City FC…heading to the USL Playoff Quarterfinals tonight against Bethlehem Steel).
Let’s talk about the importance of having GOALS in your life.
We all know that I’m a “run for fun” kind of girl. This doesn’t mean that I don’t set expectations for myself…but I make it a GOAL to not let it take the fun out of the actual run itself. Too many times I get wrapped up in people’s expectations of me and end up raising my own expectations and I normally end up performing substandard and getting upset with how everything came undone in the end.
Let’s face it…I don’t talk about GOALS very often. And here’s the reason why…people can be hurtful. GOALS are dreams and sometimes people aren’t very supportive of specific goals that you might set yourself. Not even necessarily in running, but in life in general. So, I admit…unless I really trust you…I normally don’t talk much about GOALS that I’m making for myself.
In the past year, however, I have watched many of my GOALS fall to the wayside. I overreach…I cast doubt on myself and abilities…or whatever reasons…too often this year I’ve taken a backseat to myself and the expectations I have for me. And that’s not right.
They say that GOALS ARE DREAMS WITH DEADLINES. I have a Bachelors Degree in Journalism…so I know a thing or two about deadlines. But when it comes to dreams…when it comes to these GOALS…don’t forget to give yourself TIME. Why rush? The great thing about dreams is they motivate, inspire, and keep you striving to push further and harder in order to achieve whatever it is that you have set out to accomplish.
How do you achieve GOALS without burning out? Well, there is actually a system that was created to help you set and work towards your GOAL and help you outline your way of reaching them in the near or distant future. Hey…that timeline is all you, my friend. This process….is called:
Yep…S.M.A.R.T. GOALS! Isn’t that clever? I love it. And what this process does is it makes you really identify your GOAL and set out an action plan to help you discover whether this goal is achievable and valuable to you. Let’s take a look at each component, shall we?
S: SPECIFIC – Ask yourself: WHAT do I want to accomplish & WHY do I want to accomplish this? What are the REQUIREMENTS? What are the CONSTRAINTS?
M: MEASURABLE – Ask yourself: HOW will I measure my PROGRESS? HOW will I know when the GOAL is ACCOMPLISHED?
A: ATTAINABLE – Ask yourself: HOW can the GOAL be ACCOMPLISHED? WHAT are the LOGICAL STEPS I can take?
R: RELEVANT – Ask yourself: Is this a WORTHWHILE GOAL? Is this the right TIME? Do I have the necessary RESOURCES to ACCOMPLISH this GOAL? Does this GOAL line up with my SHORT-TERM and LONG-TERM OBJECTIVES?
T: TIME BASED – Ask yourself: HOW LONG will it take me to ACCOMPLISH this GOAL? What is the DATE I have SET to meet this GOAL? WHEN and HOW OFTEN am I going to work on meeting and completing this GOAL?
So, let’s look at this from my perspective. Back in 2015…I was all set to go and run the Boston Marathon. I qualified for it at my first marathon and trained hard to get there. February 2015 hits and I’m suddenly finding myself unable to run without deep pain in my hip. Months of physical therapy and not really being able to pinpoint the problem…an MRI comes back with the diagnosis: Torn Hip Labrum. I was devastated. With only DAYS before I left for Boston to run, my doctor said I could attempt the marathon as I wouldn’t cause any further damage. I was given a Cortisone shot and sent on my way…to what turned out to be one of the worst (both in experience…not the race itself…but my body hurting so bad and time (over 5 hours). This marathon broke me mentally and physically. And, since recovering, I managed to run/walk the Kauai Marathon…but have been fighting injuries and mental blocks ever since. My GOAL….might be: I WILL QUALIFY TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON AGAIN. From there, using the S.M.A.R.T. method, I could lay out my plan of action and work on what races I might consider running to get me the necessary qualifying time (with bonus minutes as it seems to get harder and harder each year to HIT that qualifying time).
OR…it could be that I want to take a year to focus on shorter distances…master and PR in the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon before returning to marathon running. And then, I would use that S.M.A.R.T. process to breakdown the how’s, the why’s and the when’s for this particular GOAL.
I actually have a few expectations in my head lined up for the coming year. My hip continues to get stronger since it went all loopy again back in August. MEH. Really getting tired of that. I think I started a big rant on why I’m no longer in physical therapy for this in another blog that is sitting unpublished because I just didn’t have time to go back to it. And once that inspiration is gone…it’s gone.
The point is…be brave in what you actively pursue. Your dreams should be big. They should scare you a little. They should seem unattainable…but still within reach.
Realize that there will be setbacks. I’ve seen my fair share of them. Work through them. Don’t give up hope and don’t give up heart. If nothing else…set your GOAL to match my every day one…and just have some FUN! You might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish when you let go of the things that weigh you down or don’t allow you to see the big picture anymore. My favorite and best races and runs are the ones I have done by feel and for fun. Some have been new PRs and some have been me cruising near the back with good friends and just having a ball. If it’s no longer fun…it’s no longer worth doing. Don’t be so rigid in your practice that you lose that spice for life. Never let that sparkle dull.
And that’s all I have, my friends. Never let anyone tell you your GOALS aren’t big enough or worthy of the effort you put into them. Big or small…GOALS are worth pursuing. Some may be attained quickly, and some may take months or years. Just never give up. If it means something to you…keep that fight. Oh…and be S.M.A.R.T. out there!! Hope to give you some high fives along the way!