Lately I have been seeing, reading and hearing a lot about motivation and goal setting. It seems that his has become quite a hot topic these days. A quick Google search of “goal setting” yields a whopping 16,800,000 results! One view on goal setting that I like is taking a SMART approach.
Goals need to be:
SPECIFIC: they need to be straightforward and focus on what you want to achieve. This helps us direct our efforts and define what we are going to do.
MEASURABLE: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. So goals need to be created with concrete criteria so when the criteria is met, the goal is achieved. It’s also a good idea to build smaller short-term goals the lead up to the final goal to help keep you on track for those bigger, more challenging things.
ATTAINABLE: be realistic in your goal setting. If the goal is too far out of reach, you are likely to get discouraged and not be very successful.
RELEVANT: if you can identify goals that are important to you, you are more likely to stay on track and find way to achieve them.
TIME-BOUND: each goal should have a time frame. Do you want to achieve it this week, next month, this year. Having a for completion date for the goal gives a clear target to work towards. For goals with longer time frames, this is when setting mini-goals to keep on track would be helpful.
Now comes the hard part – figuring out exactly what my goals are. I’ve got lots of things in my mind, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat, so I’ll try to limit the number of goals I set now to manageable number.
Goal 1: mail Christmas presents to my niece and nephew who live in the States. Target timeline: tomorrow! I have been driving around with the box in my car for well over a month now, but never seem to get to the post office. I had originally planned to have the parcel shipped directly from the retailer, but found they wouldn’t ship across the border to the United States. This seems like a nice first goal to set and I’m determined to cross it off as completed tomorrow!
Goal 2: Complete the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes. Target timeline/Race Day: May 27th. This will be my first half marathon in over 5 years and will be the fastest I’ve ever run when I finish in under 2:30.
Goal 3: Stick to my “Couch to Half Marathon” training program – ideally completing all 5 training days each week, but realistically completing at least 4 of them each week. Timeline: weekly until race day May 27th. I know I should do all training runs as set out in my program, but I’m just being realistic in aiming for 4 of 5. I work full-time, have 2 busy boys at home (age 10 and 12), ball hockey starts in a month, and golf starts in 2 months…that’s a lot of other things that I’ve got to do besides run and there’s only so many hours in the day and I need sleep!
Goal 4: Break 50 on a league night in my EWGA golf league – target timeline: by Sept 18th. I play 9 holes of golf once a week with some great ladies. I have lots of fun, but I am not a great golfer. I am inconsistent and easily frustrated, which makes the golf even less consistent. A mini goal here is to focus on the shot I am making and forget all the shots that came before or will come after. Just focus on the shot I am about to take and visualize it landing where I want it to land. Focus on the positive and forget the negative. (More details relating to my golf game and this goal will follow in another post soon).
Goal 5: Lose 15 pounds – target timeline: by race day May 27th. I have never been a “skinny” person, and I probably never will be, but I would like to look and feel better and I think if I lost around 15 pounds I would achieve both. Going from the couch to running at least 4 times a week should hopefully help me towards this goal.
Goal 6: Eat better/more healthy – target timeline: immediately. I’ve actually already started working towards this goal. Monday was Day 1 of my training and was actually scheduled as a rest day, so no physical training. Monday was also the day that I focussed on eating better for me, healthier foods. I haven’t had any junk food or snacks that I didn’t need since Monday. This was put to the test early as Tuesday a colleague and I took some clients out for lunch before a meeting we were having. We went to Jack Astor’s since it was close to their office. I took the time to look up their menu online and check out the nutritional information and found a healthy option that I would still enjoy. I had Summer Rolls (250 calories) and a house salad (around 200 calories once the dressing is added). I opted not to have any of the cheesy garlic pan bread that was ordered for the table as an appetizer and I was the only one of the 4 of us that did not have dessert…not even a bit of the delicious looking red velvet cake that a few of the girls were sharing. I was quite pleased with myself and proud that I stuck to my guns and ate healthy. Based on experience, I know that diet and nutrition are a huge part of my weight loss success, so I know this will be a big part of helping me achieve goal #5.
Goal 7: Scrapbook more and by the end of 2012 finish scrapping family photos from 2010 and at least part of 2011. I love scrapbooking. I have several friends who find it quite amusing that I scrapbook, and I would agree, I may not be your typical scrapper. But, I love it. I find it such a fantastic way to get away from the crazy pace of my life and really enjoy looking at the photos and being reminded of all the fun times we’ve had together as a family. I’m going to tackle this one with my sister (the same one who got me involved in this half marathon!) and try to attend one crop night at least every two months and do more scrapping at home alone and hopefully together with my sister too. One other thing I love about scrapbooking is when I see my sons pulling out various completed and looking for specific events. This always leads to a lot of “remember when’s” and even more laughs, and nothing sounds quite as good as kids laughing!
Goal 8: Limit my consumption of Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi to one can a day – target timeline: immediately. There was a time when I could have 4 or 5 cans of diet soda a day, which is WAY too much. I have already started working on this and now only have one can at work, either with my lunch, or around 3pm when i need a little pick me up. One way to help ensure I only drink it at work is to not bring it into the house. If it’s not here, I can’t drink it!
Goal 9: Be more aware of my sugar consumption – target timeline: immediately. A lot seems to be written about sugar lately too and how when you consume too much it gets stored in your body immediately as fat. Well, I don’t need any help creating any more fat on my body, so I am going to make an effort to reduce the sugar that I consume. As a start, I now have a Tassimo Chai Latte at the office instead of the oh so delicious Starbucks Chai Latte. A Starbucks Grande Chai Latte has 43 grams of sugar! WOW! The Tassimo version has only 3. That’s 40 fewer grams of sugar – that’s huge! I got to a point where I was having a Starbucks Chai Latte almost every work day. I am now only going to have one at most once a week. The cost savings that will go alone with this will be an added bonus, as that’s a $20 savings every week as well!
Goal 10: Think positive thoughts and visualize – target timeline: immediately. I’ve only recently learned of the power of visualization and positive thinking. Since learning more about this at a golf seminar I attended last week, I’ve decided that I’m going to apply this to both my running and my golf. I’m going to visualize myself running easily and visualize straight, long and on target golf shots. I’ve been told that performance is 80-90% mental and 10-20% physical. If that’s the case, I can’t afford to ignore this part of my golf game or my running. I’m already starting to believe it’s true as my “I am a runner” mental chant helped me get through Wednesday’s run.
So there they are. The 10 goals I am going to focus on for the next little while. Wish me luck!