“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau
It’s hard to believe that it’s January! Christmas is over and as usual I ate way too many sweets. It’s that time of year again that everyone sets new goals for themselves. This year I have several goals. As far as my health and fitness goes, my goals are to eat less sugar and increase my marathon pace to a new personal best. In one week I will start my official training for my first Boston Marathon. It has been 5 years since I qualified for the first of three times and I am finally registered! As far as the “eat less sugar” thing goes, well I attempt that one every year. (Actually every Sunday night!) Did you know that statistics show that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Goals? So this year I am trying to be very specific and reasonable with my goals. Like most marathon runners I am very goal oriented. I have to have goals to stay motivated. I thought I would share some simple things to avoid when setting your goals. Maybe this way we can become part of that 8%!
Too Big: Often times people set unrealistic goals. This can result in major disappointment that causes people to give up. I use to say I was going to try to cut sugar completely out of my diet. That’s laughable now! I realized that was never going to happen, so now my goal is to limit it to once or twice a week and special occasions. (Not saying that I did this, but 3 trips to Sweet CeCe’s in 5 days is a bit much!) The same goes for my running. I try to set small, weekly goals. If I exceed them then that’s a bonus. When I train for a race I have to have specific, attainable goals in mind. If I fail, it gives me motivation to try again.
Too Many: This year I tried to limit my goals so that I could focus more closely on ones that I wanted most to achieve. I always have to have a running goal. I am working on my pace per mile in my marathon. Also, this year I feel like my diet really suffered. It is hard with kids because they have fun snacks and birthday parties and so many things that tempt me! My third personal goal is to be a better mom. Three goals to focus on for me is plenty!
Not Specific: Like I mentioned earlier, being specific is key. I can’t just say I want to be a better runner. I have to have a specific goal, such as a pace per mile goal or a mileage per week goal. I had to really think about what attainable things I could do to improve my diet and not just say “I’m going to eat better”. If that were the case I may just limit myself to half a box of Teddy Grahams and think that’s an improvement! So my specific nutrition goals are to eat less sugar, eat more vegetables, and to stop eating off my kids plates! I don’t want to just say I want to be a better mother so I had to think about what that meant. I am going to work on being more patient and not yelling, and also work on spending individual time with my kids doing things that they love.
Not Written: Writing your goals down is a must. It makes you feel accountable and serves as a reminder for the things you promised yourself you would work on. I truly believe that the feeling of accomplishing a goal is motivating and even addictive. So tape them to your bathroom mirror, start a journal, save them on your smart phone….do anything else that works for you. You can even make weekly entries in a journal to see how well you have done. Even a small accomplishment can motivate you for an even bigger one the next week or the next month.
There’s no time better than now to start working on your goals. The good thing is however that if you mess up or have a setback, there’s always tomorrow. So don’t beat yourself up or get discouraged, we’re only human! Running has definitely helped me with goal setting. I believe that fitness accomplishments can motivate you in other areas of your life. Everyone needs motivation. We just have to find out what it is that motivates us. Happy New Year……….make it a great one!