I am often asked by people how to get in shape or get motivated to train. I always respond that setting a goal is important to keep motivated. However, I define setting a goal as not merely “losing weight” or “getting fit.” Goals need a bit of specificity to them to have any motivational aspect to them.
That leads me to my second point. “Losing 15 pounds” is a very specific goal, but it lacks the ability to follow-up on it. I mean, you can only continue to lose weight to a certain point. It’s the same as a goal distance for cycling or running. Additionally, the timeframes for any of those can be moved around with relative ease, reducing the accountability of it. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t set goals like those I mentioned, but I have found them to be less firm.
My favorite way to do it, and the way many people I have coached have had success, is to pick a race and set a goal that is specific to that race. It could simply be completing the race. Or, it could be doing it in a desired time. I shy away from setting a placing goal or winning the event unless you know that you are competitive in it. For @cullenac’s Garron, he could set a goal of winning his age group in an Ironman event because he is that level. The problem is that he can’t control how other people race and who shows up. If Jan Frodeno were in Garron’s age group retired from being a pro and showed up to race, that would be a tough break for Garron, and he would have no shot at achieving his goal.
The real reason I like using races/events for goal setting is that it is easy to springboard to the next goal. If the goal was to complete your first Gran Fondo metric century, you could immediately set the next goal of the Gran Fondo imperial century. Or, you could target the same race or event the next year and try to better your time.
There are a million ways to set goals, and different ones work better for different folks. As you set your goals for 2019, take a look at whether they are terminal goals or whether they are ones upon which you can build for later in the year or into 2020. In an earlier post, we put down some of our goals for the year, but some (like mine) were a bit lacking in detail. I need to lay out my race schedule to target my goals for instance. How did you guys go about setting your goals for 2019?