Resolutions Goal Setting 101

Towards the end of each year, we start to take stock of the past year and look forward to the next with hopes, dreams and resolutions. We decide what we want to change, what we do and do not want to do, but rarely do we put an action plan in place to ensure we stay the course and get past the dreaded “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution” Day. We see all the predatory fitness deals and advertising telling us we are not enough of whatever even though we are surviving a pandemic. As a run coach, I see it all the time – people want to get faster, go farther, lose weight or beat other people. It can make you feel exhausted before you even take the first step to goal. And while your goals may not be running or fitness related, the same steps to success can be applied. I am here to tell you a few things: you can start a new goal any time of year, get an accountability partner, ensure that you center yourself within the purpose of goal, keep it realistic, remember your why and celebrate your progress!

You can start a new goal any time of year: One of the things that drew me into running is that there are races, events and training groups all over the calendar. It truly allows for me to pick a season that I can focus on a goal with a start date on a training plan and an end date on race day. Often, we plug our resolutions and goals into a calendar year or time frame instead of making changes that we can stick with long term. I recommend determining if something is a goal with a definitive time frame or if it is a lifestyle change you are planning to fold into your current life patterns. Once you decide that, pick a date, write it down and get to work.

Make sure your goal is about you: Think about your goal, are you at the center of it? I ask that not to make you “self-centered” but to remind you that you are the only person in control of you. Your goals can not change other people. You can work on your responses to other people in your environment or situations that happen around you but the only thing you have true control over is you. Additionally, comparison is the thief of joy. Focus on your progress rather than comparing with others- even if you have an accountability partner.

Find the right accountability partner: Go back and read that again. Emphasis on the right partner. This does not have to be a friend- it could be a professional in the area your goal is in- think personal trainer, therapist, a professional mentor or coach. Our friends mean well but depending on what your goal may be, you might want to invest in someone outside your circle. If a friend, spouse, family member is your accountability partner, make sure that you discuss your goal in detail and how you would like for them to support you. Do not forget to have them do the same! Communication is key and will further commit you to your goals.

Keep it realistic:  Before taking the leap into action, do some research on what your end goal is. Read stories of others that have taken the same journey, not to compare, but to understand what obstacles could come your way during your journey. Think about your current commitments and how much time and energy you can allocate to your goal over the course of your goals. Personally, I am to subscribe to SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) to ensure that I am not creating a chore while trying to reach a goal.

Celebrate milestones along the way: I have seen so many athletes get to the end of a race that they have worked months to run, only to be upset because it did not go the way they had planned, temperature was off, they took a wrong turn- you name it, I have heard it and have been that athlete. As a coach, when I do race recaps with a client I will often focus on the places in their journal where they had an excellent run, hit a new goal pace or distance along the way because each of those milestones are worth celebrating.  When you fail to acknowledge the milestones, you can get lost in what your original goal was. Negativity can creep in when you have already done great work at each step of the process. Taking time to celebrate can help you keep the faith that you will accomplish what you set out to do.

I invite you to take some time this week, sit down and think of something you would like to accomplish or something you would like to do more and less of. Make a plan, mark it on the calendar and take the steps to that goal that might have gotten derailed due to the pandemic, or life changes or just didn’t happen. Take the tips above and give it another shot. It may feel different this time around.

Nikkia Young, ΘB

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