‘That’s too much! I can’t do that!’
I have heard people say things like this already at the mention of my goal of running 2017 miles over the course of the next year. Yes, it’s over 5.5 miles per day if you divide it evenly across the year. Every. single. day. And if you feel it is out of your reach…
That’s completely fair!
Nobody knows you better than you do. I may suggest you push yourself out of your comfort zone, and want to inspire you to your own greatness, but knowing your limits is priceless. You can’t set your sights on surpassing them if you don’t see where they lie. No-one is able to run a good, injury-less marathon without months of training for it. Even running a 5k race is a massive challenge and risk for someone coming off the couch. I can’t recommend it. I can recommend a strategy for choosing something reasonable to you so it becomes achievable.
Finding YOUR Goal
You can still join me on my journey without going to the extremes I am. Find your own goal that is right-sized for you. It can be tricky to decide on a goal for yourself. There are a few things you can consider that will help you when planning your own great challenge.
Goals should be written down
Writing your goals is a necessity if you want to achieve something permanent. You can check out 5 reasons why you should write down your goals here, but to boil it down to one vital point, writing them down will make them real. If you are serious and thoughtful, making SMART goals and writing them down will help you focus your daily decisions and energy to achieving them.
All goals should be SMART goals
- Avoid vague terms. Words like ‘more’ and ‘less’ feel comfortable because they allow you to hedge yourself and be non-committal. Use real numbers to determine what you want to accomplish, whether it is weight loss, activity levels, or skill learning.
- Choosing goals that can be objectively measured allows you to know and show your progress without a doubt. If you could not run for a mile when you start, but set a goal to run a 5k, you know for certain if and when you reach it. Avoid terms like ‘improve’ or ‘better’. Numbers are your friend. They let you see what ‘better’ looks like.
- A goal is not something that just happens while you watch, but something you make happen. Make it about actions you can take. ‘Hoping’ is a word to avoid. ‘Determined’ or ‘committed’ are good terms to use. Don’t ‘hope’ to find time to pursue your goal, but be determined to make time and take steps to bring it into reality.
- This means that you should feel that you have at least a 60% chance of achieving your goal. Think hard on your abilities and capacity. Consider what time you can dig out of your days to make yourself and your goal a priority. Make sure your goal doesn’t rely on money or people that you may not have access to or skills you’ve not set other goals to learn. You want to stretch yourself to new heights. So, stretch and reach for something just on the edge of your grasp. Don’t allow big dreams to defeat real gains. Keep it real.
- Set a deadline, or a series of deadlines to make yourself accountable and keep progressing. Procrastination is wild monkey distracting you from spending your time wisely. Deadlines are often the only thing that seem to drive him back. Give yourself the pressure of a time-limited goal and set milestones to achieve it. You can see this in my 2017 plan this Friday.
Should you share your goals?
Telling other people is tricky, because there is contradictory wisdom about the effects. The act of telling someone can make you begin to feel as if you are fulfilling that goal already, diminishing your motivation. On the other hand, if your goal is ambitious and you need support to achieve it, not telling anyone and taking all the efforts on yourself may cause you to come up short, or worse yet, burn out completely.
Personally, I’ve chosen to share my goal with the world, but I’ve got experience under my belt. I’ve made goals quietly before and only told the world when I achieved them. I took time to share this goal with those who know me best and would help support me most immediately in my efforts first. I then thought long and hard about the shape of the goal and made sure it was ‘SMART’. Finally, after all of that, I shared my 2017 goal with the world and tied that very act into another goal of mine, which is to develop website and habit of publishing at least two 300+ word articles a week for a year.
Whether you share your goal or not is up to you. Whatever you do, write it down and tell yourself your goals. Make it real and reasonable for YOU and then take the steps you need to achieve it.