It’s January, start of a new year and we’re all thinking about goals for the year ahead.
I thought about writing a post about how to set goals and achieve them but there are lots of them around. Instead, I want to tell you about my 2023 goals. Not just about the actual goals but the questions I ask, the processes I put in place to try and achieve them as these are the same processes I use to help my clients achieve their goals.
Perhaps they can help you too or at least you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to work with me.
What are my 2023 goals?
My main goal is to run a 3hr marathon, or quicker at the Edinburgh Marathon on 28th May. Another goal is to write more and so by writing this, I’m on my way to ticking that box! It’s not just to write more but become better at writing. Overcome the idea of trying to write perfectly every time, embracing my imperfections, practicing, learning and becoming better by doing.
This is what I encourage my clients to do too. Instead of trying do everything perfectly, I encourage my clients to practice, embrace their own perfections, learn from them and practice to become better. This ensures one slip up doesn’t mean complete failure, it ensures they’ll make fewer mistakes as they go through their journey, build confidence and potentially achieve their goals quicker as a result.
I want run the 3hr marathon to qualify for a Good For Age place for the 2024 London Marathon. It’s 25 years since I started training for my first marathon, in London, and that race changed my life. I’ve done it a few times since and I’d love to go back having earned my place.
The questions so far have been about identifying what the goal is and the reason for going after it. Why now is my favourite question to ask because it gets into the real motivation for pursuing the goal now. Why not last year or in the future?
I have two answers to this question. The first is that now I’m over 50, the qualifying time is more achievable than it was when I was in my late 40’s! The time I have to go for is sub 3:15, which is still faster than I’ve ever done and I will have to go even quicker than that as there will be many people applying for a limited number of places and so aiming for 3hrs will give me a better chance.
The other reason is that my business now is dedicated to helping men and women over 50 do things they dreamed of and thought were impossible. Age doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving the things we really want. I want to prove it by doing it myself.
How Will I Do It?
This is where we get into the real nuts and bolts of the goal. It’s easy to set a goal and come up with a reason for going after it. The hardest part of a goal is knowing where to start, or how to start. What’s the first thing you need to do? This is where most people slip up.
Most people will join a gym and/or go on a diet, believing they need to start at square one and get fit or lose weight first before they achieve their goal.
One of the greatest things I’ve learned from marathon training in the last 25 years is to start with the finish in mind and work back the way to create the steps to get there.
Starting With The Finish In Mind
Imagine you’ve just achieved your goal. Think of the things you’re now doing, where you are, who’s with you, the clothes you’re wearing, what you’re hearing and most importantly, how you’re feeling. In my case, I’m thinking about how I’m feeling when I see the finish line ahead of me, how I feel when I cross the line to complete my goal, how I’m feeling during the race and how I’m running.
Capture those thoughts feelings as if they’re happening right now and work back the way to create the first step. When you know those thoughts and feelings with such clarity, you can see it ahead of you and you can almost reach out and grab it. It then becomes easier to motivate yourself along the way when you know what you’re aiming for.
All of a sudden, you’ll find it easier to reject things like unhealthy snacks, several drinks or late nights when you think of them in relation to your goal as they’ll seem like they get in your way. Think of how not having things you normally have will make you feel, not because you’ve been told not to have them but because you no longer want them!
Consistency Is Key
For me, knowing how I want to run and how I want to feel while I run, I can start by practicing this when I run. At the start of every program I create, whether for myself or clients, consistency is always key. Just get moving and practicing little things every single day.
It’s not all about running either. My approach for coaching clients is built around Mindset, Exercise, Nutrition and Rest. In this case, we’ve covered mindset. I need to look at exercises I can create for myself that will enable me to run faster with less effort. Improve my diet so I get the right nutrients that will help give me more energy and aid my performance both in running and in general life. The other factor is getting better sleep, having more time to relax and feel less stressed so that I can perform at my best when I need to.
It’s not about training harder, it’s about training smarter and covering all areas so that in May, I can stand on the start line knowing that 3hrs is within my capabilities if I do what I’ve trained myself to do and don’t need to rely on hope or doing something I haven’t practiced.
One Big Goal
You may have noticed that I’ve spoken mostly about one goal rather than a few you’ve been encouraged to set. This is because I believe that if you set too many goals, there is a danger of spreading yourself thin and end up achieving none.
I believe in setting one big goal, that requires you to get out of your comfort zone and scares and excites you at the same time. This can be a marathon or can even be to get rid of the excess weight you’ve been carrying for a long time and feel healthier and fitter in the next chapter of your life.
When you go after one big goal, and commit yourself to going after it, you’ll find that you achieve lots of other things along the way, like getting fit and losing weight, almost without even trying!
I also mention “it’s time to be selfish” in the title. That’s because in order to achieve your goals, you need to be selfish and put yourself first. We’re very good at looking after others first or saying yes to things that will likely get in the way. It’s not that you need to neglect everyone or everything, when you put yourself first, you’ll have more time and energy to spend on others/other things.
What’s your 2023 goal? How does that feel once you’ve answered the questions above? What’s the first step you’re going to take to move yourself closer to it?
If you’d like some help to get there, get in touch and let’s have a chat :)