For many runners, the New Year signifies a fresh start; a time to think about goals and the commitments you plan to make. Yet, for all the initial enthusiasm, keeping yourself motivated, committed (beyond Jan 2nd) and moving toward the accomplishment of those goals is often tough.
If you’re tired of setting goals and making resolutions that quickly fade, consider these expert tips to help you stay focused:
Were your 2015 goals just too easy?
“If you are reaching every goal, you are not setting your goals high enough. Coming up short on a goal is not a sign of failure. A goal-setting program is of real use only when goal setting helps you accomplish something you would not have otherwise accomplished.”
Are your goals motivating?
“A good goal has personal meaning. Nobody ever told me, “You have to win the 2014 Boston Marathon” or “You have to make the 2012 Olympic team.” Those were goals I set for myself. When I told myself, “I want to win Boston,” it just felt right. I knew that chasing that goal would motivate me to do what was necessary to achieve it and that doing so would require me to do my best.”
Meb Keflezighi – Check out the full Runner’s World article
Tip No. 3
Will your goals stretch you?
“Goal setting is an indispensable tool for maximizing performance. When you set an appropriate performance goal, it is much more likely that you will achieve the most you are capable of than if you simply try to do your best without setting an objective, measurable goal.”
Matt Fitzgerald – Check out our interviews with Matt
Is your goal a goal or is it really just a deal?
“When we make deals, we are limiting how good we can become. Deals do not build mental toughness. Our motivation and focus has changed. We are doing something to gain an immediate result, not long-term success. Making deals also gives us an “out”, a reason not to push further when it gets really tough… Setting goals means having a plan of action without a fallback. It’s stating, “I will do this”, instead of“do this, so you can.” It means keeping the focus on the immediate task at hand instead of focusing on the outcome.”
Dr. Rob Bell – Read the whole article
Don’t set the bar too high
“Be careful not to over-emphasize goals or set them too high. This can cause anxiety and knock down your confidence.”
Dr. Jeff Brown – Check out the excerpt from The Runner’s Brain
Have back-up goals, just in case
“Consider using a three-level goal system to determine your achievement levels, at a training session, during the next competition, or in your upcoming season: 1) bronze, 2) silver, and 3) gold.
In this system, bronze symbolizes a desired result that would be a good outcome based on a reasonable assessment of past performances and current capabilities. Silver refers to a significant improvement. Finally, gold is equivalent to achieving a best time or delivering a major performance breakthrough.”
Dr. Jim Afremow – Check out our interview with Dr. Jim
Tip No. 7
Does your goal involve a mental barrier?
“The 4-minute mile was only unbreakable until one man broke it”
Ed Caesar – Author ‘Two Hours’ – The quest to run the impossible marathon.
Tip No. 8
Is your goal compelling enough to survive a harsh winter?
“Another great motivator is to have a goal that you want to achieve. You need a darned good reason to work out during the winter and “general health and fitness” is perhaps too nebulous to get you going. But a specific goal may offer you the push that you need. Goals can include gains in strength, weight loss, learning a new sport, improving at an old sport, or preparation for an upcoming competitive event, such as a running race or triathlon.”
Dr. Jim Taylor – Check out the full article
Tip No. 8.5
Not ready to make your goals yet? No pressure
“As 2015 draws to a close, don’t feel pressured to make resolutions because you feel you should. Instead, open yourself to the possibility that setting concrete running goals can be the start of some truly positive changes in your life.”
Remember, the clearer your goals are, the more confident and motivated you’ll be achieve them in 2016 and beyond. Best to you in the New Year, and happy goal-setting!
- Brain Training for Runners: Matt Fitzgerald (New American Library)
- Runnersworld.com – How to Set Good Running Goals – Meb Keflezighi’s five-step plan for making sure you reach any goal. By Meb Keflezighi, Scott Douglas
- The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Dr. Jim Afremow (Rodale, 2014)
- TWO HOURS by Ed Caesar. Copyright © 2015 by Ed Caesar. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY
- RUNNER’S WORLD – THE RUNNER’S BRAIN by Dr. Jeff Brown with Liz Neporent (foreword by Meb Keflezighi), (c) 2015 by Rodale Inc
- 10 – Minute Toughness by Dr. Jason Selk (McGraw Hill)
- Dr. Jim Taylor – www.drjimtaylor.com