5 Steps to Goal Setting with Heart
Achieving goals is fun and rewarding and gives us a sense of empowerment and satisfaction. It is what drives a lot of triathletes, whether it means setting their sights on completing their first triathlon or racing Ironman in a destination they always wanted to visit. The path towards goals is an adventure in itself: a world full of unexpected learning and opportunity for daily success along the way. The quality and nature of your goals is important. The extent to which the goal is both meaningful and attainable requires some diligent and thoughtful planning as you start looking towards 2015.
Traditional goal setting asks athletes to analyze their current physical and mental skill level and find out where there is a potential for improvement. It helps to understand your weaknesses relative to your strengths over swim, bike and run, as you can adjust your future training to bring them more closely balanced.
Most people have a good idea of where they would like to improve. They can say things like: I am a great cyclist, but I have problems on the run, or I can swim fast in the pool but I swim a dog’s leg course once I get to open water. They know if they are good hill climbers or strong flat course riders and if they waste too much time in transition. A list of your current skills and level will give you a solid starting point when it comes to setting your goals for next season.
Because training and racing should be happy and positive, I encourage athletes to also look within themselves as they start dreaming about next year. Here are five things from your heart that you should take into consideration when choosing next year’s goals:
Choose a race that pulls you. One you have always wanted to do, a place you want to travel. Even if you have qualifying as part of your season goals, choose at least one race that is your HEART race. This can be a race you have done well on before and which you love, a place that inspires or perhaps a race in a location you have always wanted to visit. Wanting to be there, and showing up inspired is something worth looking at.
2. Quality Time
Training should be fun and should make sense. When is a good time in your year to train and when is a good time to race? Taking into consideration weather, kids, school and summer holidays, work schedules and family vacations, find spots where your goal race training (the 6-12 week prior) will fit in nicely with your life and commitments.
3. Cultivate New Powerful and Positive Habits Through Sport
Which races will allow you to elevate and grow? Are there challenges you feel a little afraid of? Are you ready for a longer race but still not sure. Look carefully at your fears and decide whether they are worth staying latched onto. When an athlete gives me reasons she should not do a race, I usually see fear lurking in the background. I then ask the athlete to give me five good reasons why she SHOULD do the race. When listed side by the side, the 5 negatives are almost always problems that can be worked out and the 5 positives will take the athlete closer to personal success. Try this the next time you feel anxious or like avoiding a goal. It is a very powerful technique.
4. Invest in Yourself
This means taking your decisions and goals seriously, not just buying yourself a new racing bike or power meter. Races are probably the most amazing places to become a better athlete and a stronger person. They are the culmination to training and work, and they are small pockets of your life where you get to focus your energy into something you really want to do well at. Look at all races as a chance to gain valuable insight into racing and how you respond to various courses and conditions. Even secondary races are opportunities to practice good habits and reconnect with the fun that sport is.
5. Learn and Trust
Trust is a liberating feeling. Whether it’s trusting your coach or trusting that your plan and goals will work out for you, trust means you can take out the anxiety and the second guessing. It doesn’t mean that you won’t change things up when necessary, and you may even re set your goals, but developing a sense of trust in your plan, your coach and your schedule allows you to fully enjoy and benefit from the process. We have a lot of options in our lives now, more than ever before, and this includes our recreational and athletic choices. Whether it is technology and equipment, coaching software or type of workouts, there are a plethora of ways to get to the same goal. Nothing will ever replace good judgment, commitment, trust and merely working hard and putting the effort in.
If you take the time to consider what you truly want from sport, and how you really would like your training and racing experience to look like, you are much more likely to find the process rewarding and fulfilling. Your time spent training will make sense and will be empowering.
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