It’s almost 2019, which means #newyear #newme.
I’m a big fan of setting goals, and I am an especially a big fan of planning out my goals for the upcoming year. For me, it’s more than just being able to tell people I have a new year’s resolution. It’s the fact that the new year always seems like a fresh start and the absolute perfect time to attack some of the goals you’ve put off for a while.
However, if you’re anything like me, setting a goal is a little more difficult than it seems. I want to do what seems like a million things at once, and sorting through what is most important to me can be a difficult task.
In this post I will share exactly how to set a realistic goal, a simple step to take to reach your goals, as well as what to do if you goals change.
Basic goal setting & how to set a goal:
I slim down the goals I want to set by picking 3-5 things that I feel are the most important tasks for me to accomplish in the new year.
The first thing I think about when I sit down to set a goal is exactly what I want to accomplish and why. The and why is the most important part of this step because it helps to create realistic goals that you’re sure to be focused on.
Here is a personal example of goal setting with an “and why”:
My goal this past year was to PR in the marathon. I wanted to PR in the marathon because a) it’s a PR (duh!) & b) my PR is 2:36.01 and I was only a second away from being able to say I was a 2:35 runner. I wanted to get the pesky two seconds away from being a 2:35 marathoner off of my record and replace it with a much faster PR.
So, once you’ve figured out your goals and why you want to accomplish these goals, write them down!! Writing your goals down is so important. You can write them down in a notebook, phone, top secret diary – it doesn’t matter! Just be sure to have them written down somewhere that’s easily accessible to you.
For me, writing my goals down makes the goal seem more “real” somehow. It’s almost as if I’m writing down a promise to myself instead of just having the goal somewhere in the back corner of my mind. Plus I am a huge fan of crossing things off of a list, and there is nothing more satisfying than crossing a goal off of a list once you’ve accomplished it!
I also suggest having goals for multiple areas in life. Sometimes something happens (injury, change in interest, etc.) and we decide to trash a previous goal because it’s no longer relevant to our lives.
It’s no secret I love running, and one of my jobs is to run professionally. However, that’s not the only area in my life that I focus my energy on and strive to be better in. I have multiple goals in other areas of my life to ensure balance in my life.
I had to change my goals a few years ago when my goal was to start my first successful marathon training cycle. I ended up getting injured and therefore I had no reason to keep that goal. I did, however, have more time and energy to focus on the goals in the other areas of my life.
Here are some personal examples of goals outside of my comfort zone:
I wanted to hit 2,000 sales on Etsy this year because I remembered when I hit 1,000 sales the year before and thought it would be impossible to make it to 2,000 sales this year.
I wanted to improve my hand lettering as well on both the iPad with Procreate as well as freehand because I want to add a handmade element to future designs.
I also I wanted to learn how to be a better cook because I love cooking and want to be able to create delicious meals (we’re still working on this!!). I also make sushi by hand at least once (this was accomplished easily because I LOVE sushi).
In summary, it may take a second to slim down what’s important to you, but choosing a few things to really focus your energy on is key. This helps to ensure all of your energy goes to only a few items instead of a thousand random thoughts. Also be sure to write down your goals and why you want to accomplish them!
How to reach the goals you’ve set:
Once you’ve established what you want to accomplish, it’s important to have a plan of attack. Instead of setting out and trying to reach your end goal all at once, it’s important to have a few smaller steps to get there. At ZAP we call these “process goals”. Process goals are smaller goals/the steps we’re going to take to reach our ultimate goal.
For example my goal was to PR in the marathon. I will lay out my process goals for this goal as an example:
- Get my iron up and maintain a high ferritin count
- PR (or come close to my PR) in my tune up race for the full marathon
- Run a 30 mile long run
With these smaller goals I would also have steps I would take to reach these goals
- Get my iron up
- Take iron on regimented plan
- eat red meat 3-4 times a week
- PR or come close to my PR
- focus on recovery
- get a massage bi weekly
- use the foam roller once a week (I hate the foam roller!)
- Run a 30 mile long run
- build enough base mileage to do this
This step is one of my favorites, because it makes the goal not seem as daunting. Instead of just saying I wanted to PR in the marathon, I had steps and a check off list on how I would most likely be able to attack these goals.
I also suggest writing these process goals down in the same place you wrote down your ultimate goals. Glancing at my process goals every day helps me to remember that even though my ultimate goal seems far away, I’m working towards that goal every day.
In summary, setting a goal is important but planning out how to reach that goal is even more important. Process goals help to keep you on track and remind you that the little things you do daily are leading up to the ultimate goal.
What to do if your goal changes:
Goals change. Sometimes even if you believed with your whole heart that you would be able to accomplish a certain goal, life throws a curveball that’s completely out of our control.
The key with this step is to not panic! (much easier said than done!) As I mentioned previously, sometimes goals change. It’s not a reflection on you or your ability to accomplish goals, it’s just what happens sometimes.
I’ll give a personal example of how I had to change goals this year:
My goal was to PR in the marathon. My goal race was the Boston Marathon. I knew that course was built for a runner like me, and I knew I could have the best race of my life on that course. It had a deep field, there were rolling hills, my parent’s were going to be there, and the energy from the spectators at Boston was known to be unmatched.
Boston was the only marathon I was running in 2018, and I knew I only was going to have one chance at this goal this year. Unfortunately, the weather in Boston the day before the marathon proved that my goal of PRing was not going to be reached.
Once I saw the 100% chance of heavy rain and a headwind the night before Boston, I had to change my goal to a place goal. I knew it was highly unrealistic for me to go after a PR. I didn’t want to risk expending an unnecessary amount of energy in the first few miles fighting the rain and wind to stay on PR pace. I knew if I did that I would ultimately hit the wall and jeopardize my opportunity for my new place goal.
Mid-race I changed my place goal to simply finishing the marathon. I felt awful, people around me were dropping out like flies, and I couldn’t feel my entire left side. I remember there was a moment where I told myself I could stop and just walk into any coffee shop, get the largest coffee they offered, and pretend the race never happened. Changing my goal to finishing the race seemed almost impossible, but it was important to myself that I finished.
Of course I was upset I didn’t get the chance to PR in the marathon this year, but I did end up finishing the race. Ultimately, even though I changed my goal to meet circumstances, I did accomplish my goal.
Giving yourself the forgiveness to change goals when needed is extremely important. It’s so easy to be hard on yourself when you can’t meet a goal. Changing goals is not a reflection on yourself, it’s just how life is and that’s okay.
In summary, a last minute change in goals might have to happen. Don’t panic about it, and know everything will be okay. Simply take a deep breath and write your new goal down. Life hands us things that are out of our control sometimes. Don’t look at a change in goals as a failure. Look at a change in goals as fresh start and a new area to focus your energy!
Guess what – you’re ready to go! Start setting and crushing your goals for 2019! Good luck!!
What are your goals for 2019? I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below!