Welcome to the New Year! What a perfect opportunity to make changes, start something new, and to make this your best year yet! A New Year is a fresh start, and a new chapter in life waiting to be written. Hopefully you were able to set aside some time last month to reflect on 2015, and you were able to recognize your accomplishments and hone in on what can be improved this year. Using the information gathered during your reflection process will help to focus our goals for 2016.
We all know that goal setting is important for athletes, business people, and other high achieving individuals. Goals set a specific pathway to follow. Goals prove to be the most effective motivational strategy. In addition, people are more focused and committed when their goals are clearly established. When that infuriating alarm rings early in the morning, your goals will get you out of that warm bed to go train. So what are your goals this year? How will you accomplish them? Let’s consider seven important steps of goal setting:
The first step is the initial identification of your goal. What do you want to accomplish this year? I suggest you review your reflections from 2015 and establish one big goal in each category of your life. You want to make sure your goals are realistic and relevant, but also aim high. What are you truly capable of? Often, it is our own thinking that is our biggest limiting factor. In addition, I can’t stress enough the importance of writing down your goals. Studies show that the mere act of writing down your goals significantly increases your chances of achieving those goals.
- Set a deadline
Setting a deadline creates urgency and helps to prevent procrastination. The good news is most athletic events already have predetermined deadlines; however, sometimes we may need to create our own deadlines for our goals. Setting deadlines allows us to work backward to figure out what we need to do up until this date to be successful. Also, the deadline will provide motivation to keep us on track. If you don’t already have a deadline, make one!
- Break Down
You want to break your goals down into manageable steps. A big goal can be overwhelming. Don’t let it scare you! Breaking your goals down into manageable steps will help you focus on the process and the small things you need to accomplish. When you are focused on the process and the small things you need to do on a daily basis, the end result will follow. When establishing goals, we want to make them as specific as possible. The brain responds best to specific directions, so specific goals increase your likelihood of following through. Therefore, it is more effective to set a small goal of “I attend the 6:00 AM spinning class every Tuesday and Thursday leading up to my marathon” instead of simply stating “I will cross train this training segment.”
- List Obstacles
Let’s face it- life does not always run smoothly. Sometimes obstacles are unavoidable, and this is okay. It is important, however, to be aware of the potential obstacles. Take a few moments to write down the obstacles you may face in reaching your goals. You can then create small goals that will help you get around or effectively deal with those obstacles. This way, you will be prepared if you happen to face one of those obstacles in the journey of goal achievement.
Social support is extremely helpful for goal achievement. Do you have a coach, training group, or people who support you? Consider discussing your goals with the individuals involved in the success of your training. Together, you can work as a team. This may make it easier to accomplish your goals.
Motivation and commitment are very important when it comes to goals. Writing your goals is the easy part, but sticking to them for the long-haul can be difficult. Think about WHY your goal is so important to you. What is fueling your fire? Working toward goals requires hard work and sacrifice, so you may need to remind yourself along the way of WHY all of this hard work is worth it. Establishing commitment cues keeps your goal front of mind and helps to remind you of your WHY. What can you do to ensure you are reminded of your goal on a daily basis? Some ideas are to write your goal on your mirror with a dry erase marker, make your iPhone or computer background a picture that reminds you of your goal, or telling a friend who you know will keep you accountable.
It is extremely important to check back on the goals you have written down to review, assess, and re-evaluate if necessary. Goal setting is an ongoing and fluid process and frequent review of your goal is necessary to keep you on track. You should be celebrating your successes along the way and readjusting as necessary. It may help to set an ongoing alert in your calendar to help remind you to regularly check back on your goals.
Written By Ashley Corn: Ashley Corn is the Owner and Lead Consultant of G.U.T.S. Coaching Services, the only coaching company in the Front Range that is devoted solely to the training the mental side of performance. For more information or to sign up for G.U.T.S. FREE monthly newsletter, visit their website at www.gutscoachingservices.com.
Contact Ashley today for more information about how to set goals that will make 2016 your best year. She also offers individual goal setting sessions that will walk you through a proven goal setting plan for establishing your goals and help to keep you accountable throughout the process.