Goal Setting

“My goal this year is to run the Calgary half marathon in a time of 1:50:59 or better”

..is what I announced at Christmas dinner this year. I was really excited about this goal. I was excited about how much freaking work it was going to be for me, how challenging it would be. Shaving more than 6 minutes off of my best time is very ambitious.. but I know with all my heart I am able to do it. If a goal isn’t a little bit scary, maybe you aren’t aiming high enough though!

Then I listened to this amazing podcast about goal setting. (I’ll try to figure out how to link to the article/cast when I’m all done..no promises..that seems a little “techy” for my abilities) 

They spoke of setting all kinds of goals, and it was super helpful and totally interesting. Then they got to “Performance” goals. Here I was, ready to throw my hands in the air and cheer for my new and exciting goal and get ready for the podcast to encourage and cheer me on.

It sooooo didn’t. 

What it said, (in my words), was performance goals (like mine..) are very tricky. Not necessarily bad or anything, but can be a bit dangerous.

There are so many factors that can affect a race that are completely out of the participants control: weather, illness, other runners, and simply just a ‘bad’ run day.

If you are running for a specific time..what happens if you don’t meet that time? Are you upset? I have actually had this exact experience with a race before..so it struck a chord with me.

So, let’s take my “goal” as an example. If that time is the standard I use to measure the success of my run and I don’t meet it, is the run a failure? Am I a failure? Did the entire race just suck ass because I came in at 1:55 instead? Or what if I come in a 2:00? Do I not deserve to be proud of my run because the wind was horrible that day and really slowed me down? What if I get a cold 3 weeks before the race? What if it’s raining? What if…if..if..

After listening to the reasons the author of this article/cast gave, I decided he was very, very correct.

I run because I love the way it makes me feel. I don’t want to finish a race and feel like a failure if I don’t reach my time. I want to feel like a freaking rock star when I finish because hey, running 21.1km is no joke!!

So, the change in mindset is this: mastery. I train to MASTER the art of running. At the end of the race, regardless of my time, I come away with an experience that I will learn from.

I write out the goal, work out what skills I need to learn, what actions I have to take, and train for those.

If I do all the things I’ve laid out for myself, if I train with all my heart, if I learn something along the way, if I progress in my favourite sport, then regardless of what happens on race day, I’m a winner. I get my gold star.

Uh, I don’t know about you..but that sounds like I’m setting myself up for success a lot more that the time goal does. 

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the article:

“the right goals boost your own intrinsic motivation. they are meaningful to you rather than being about someone else’s standards, judgement, or agenda”

“External validation becomes irrelevant when you’re focused on the pleasure of doing the activity itself.”

“Mastery is gratifying because no matter what others think or do — whether you’re judged poorly or you’re outperformed — you can still feel good about your own personal progression.”

Mastery focuses on the joy of learning and the value in intrinsic (inside-yourself) process. External validation becomes irrelevant when you’re focused on the pleasure of doing the activity itself.


http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fitness-goals (the link to the article)

I’m going to train like a MFer for this race. I’m going to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m going to run because I love running and I’m going to love running even more with this mindset. I’ve posted my goals below, but it’s a work in progress. I’ll add to it as I begin training to refine what I need to work on.

See, never too old to learn 😉

I’m going to do another blog on other goals next..you know.. 

“lose 20lbs”

“workout everyday” those ones.. we will focus on those goals in the next blog.

Goal setting isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are tons of helpful advice just a computer or phone click away..just send me a message and ask for some help.


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