Every worthwhile athletic achievement starts with an idea. To manifest the idea effectively, you should set your goals carefully and with consideration. Here is how you set SMART goals.
For a lot of athletes, winter is the time to take a step back and decide what you want to achieve in the next year. Looking back at what you’ve done and where you want to go to next is good practice for everybody who wants to progress. This is even more important when it comes to competitive goals. Winter is the time when we build the foundations for our spring and summer fitness.
The following mnemonic is a useful way to remember how to set SMART goals that provide the best chance of a satisfying result.
Specific: Make it clear about what exactly you want to achieve and visualize yourself achieving that goal. Pay attention to where you are, what you are doing, etc.
Measurable: Vague goals such as ‘lose weight’ or ‘get fittert’ are too imprecise. Specify a number or event. For instance, aiming to get a five-hour finish in a chosen marathon, lose 10lb or cut one minute from your 10-mile time trial time.
Attainable: Choose a goal that’s realistically within your reach in the next year. If you’re thinking in the long term, this year’s goal could be a stepping stone to something bigger in the future.
Rewarding: Internal rewards are the ones that will provide you with most motivation, more than prizes, the prestige or a finisher’s medal. Visualize yourself achieving your goal: how does it make you feel? If it doesn’t make you happy, what’s the point?
Time-orientated: Your goal needs a time limit. Put it on your calendar; count down towards it with smaller goals along the way. If you don’t determine an end point, you can’t hold yourself accountable for achieving the goal.