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Part 2: Goals or Wishes?

Earlier this week, I released a post called “The Big ‘WHY'” that issued a challenge to you to think about AND WRITE DOWN the “why” behind your training. If you missed that post, or didn’t do the assigned homework, I encourage you to go back and go through part one first. You can find it HERE. This post is going to build off of your ‘WHY.’

goals-2The ‘why’ needs to be at the core. If you don’t know why are you training/racing, it is going to be incredibly difficult for you to push through the lows of a race or a long training block. When things get tough, you need to draw on the reasons that this is important to you to push through. It is easy to keep pushing when everything is going well. But when you start getting tired, sore, hot, hangry, etc. recalling your ‘why’ will help you carry on.

Goal Setting
idealgoalOnce you have a good understanding of your ‘why,’ the next step is to address the ‘how.’ How will you fulfill your purpose in triathlon. How will you know if you are successful in the sport? How will you accomplish what you want to? You do this by setting goals. So, first we must make an important differentiation between a goal and a wish! Have you ever thought about the difference? A wish is something you want. A goal is something you work for on a daily basis. A goal has an ACTION plan. A goal is WRITTEN DOWN someplace where you can see it every day. You can measure whether or not you have achieved your goals. And finally, a goal has a timeline! So ask yourself, have you been setting goals or wishes?

I don’t think it is necessary for me to go through each acronym out there to help you through the goal setting process. Some are good and there are quite a few others that I’m just not a fan of. Personally, I think that the “SMART” goals are a good starting point. Wikipedia already did a good job describing them HERE. The biggest things you need to keep in mind are:

  1. They need to be specific – Don’t say you want to increase your FTP, say you want to increase it by XX watts or XX%
  2. You need to put a date on them – When does your goal expire?
  3. You need to know if you accomplished the goal are not. You need to be able to answer this Yes/No. A lot of people are afraid to write a goal like this because you HAVE to answer it. Not reaching a goal is not necessarily a failure…but more on that later!
  4. A goal must be written down. It doesn’t have to be public, but should be a place where you see it on a regular basis. Writing it down helps you own it!
  5. A goal needs to be challenging, but within reach. It should not be easy, but also needs to be possible.

I’ll discuss more in later posts on how to adjust your goals as you go. It is also important to understand that there are many different types of goals. Most of your goals are likely Outcome goals, or goals set around an accomplishment such as finishing a race, hitting a certain time, etc. Obviously these are important and they should be used to guide you in the selection of your major races of the season. However, you cannot just simply stop there. Once you set your big, longer term outcome goals you need to set process goals…or goals that help you progress towards getting the result you want. I’ll address the process in later posts.

Coach’s Challengegoals
Write down your Outcome goals for the next 1, 3, and 5 years. Don’t be afraid of having long term goals, you can adjust them as life happens!!! Remember to make sure your goals meet the criteria outlined above. If you wrote that you want to qualify for Kona or you want to finish your first triathlon…I’m sorry, those are wishes not goals. WHEN do you want to qualify? When will you put your first race on your schedule? Have an expiration date. Be bold. Challenge yourself!!!!

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