New Year's: 5 Goal-Setting Tips

author : Meulen
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Five things to consider in goal setting for a new year

As one season comes to a close it can be very beneficial to set your goals for the next season. Goal setting can really help keep you motivated and focused, especially in the tough winter months. It’s important that we know why we are sitting in a basement on a trainer, or making friends with a treadmill. Setting next season's goals will embed that motivation in the back of your mind as you enter those challenging training months.


It’s sometimes easy to get overly excited after a season and go a little crazy setting goals, but they also need to be realistic. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment, discouragement, and undermine the motivational reason behind setting goals. Goals should be challenging, but not out of reach. Continually setting goals too high, and setting yourself up for failure can take a toll mentally.


Setting Realistic Goals


So how do we stay realistic when setting our goals? What things should we consider?



  1. Consider your current situation. Are you hurt, burned out, or have some nagging problems that need to be dealt with? What did last season tell you about your current health, ability, and age? Winter is a great time to fix the problems. However, you need to consider the time it will take to deal with those things before you set your goals. For example, if you need to take a rest with something like Plantar Fasciitis, maybe it’s not the time to consider a Boston Qualifying time at a spring marathon.
     

  2. Consider your history. Once you’ve assessed your health, take some time to reflect on the previous season, what worked, and what didn’t. Consider your age and ability to recover from workouts, and decide if you can make the progress necessary to reach your goals. It’s not likely you'll go from a seven-hour half ironman to a 4:30, or from a five-hour marathon to a Boston Qualifier. So assess what progress you made last season, and use it as a guideline to what progress you can make next season. If you’re coming off the couch and finished your first triathlon this year, consider going further next season. If you’re a seasoned Ironman and want a Kona slot, look at your race times last season vs. those that qualified at the races you're planning next year. Use them to decide if you can make the improvements necessary to qualify. Talk to a coach if you have problems making these assessments. A good coach will recognize what you are capable of, and be able to help you manage the long term logistics of reaching your goals this year, and further out into the future.
     

  3. Consider your time. When you’re reveling over the excitement of a good season, sometimes it’s easy to set lofty goals. However, long
    course racing takes an extraordinary amount of time to train for. Do you have eight to 16 hours a week to train for half-ironman or ironman next season? Not everyone has that kind of time to commit, and that’s OK! Not everyone has to be an Ironman, or do HIMs or marathons. Your mind will be much more at peace if you improve on what you can do, rather than try to do something you don’t have the time to commit to.
     

  4. Consider your financial situation. Big goals sometimes come at a big cost. This sport is EXPENSIVE! Be sure you’re ready to put out money for a big season of racing if you are considering moving up to HIM or IM. Remember, that sometimes you want to do a few other races leading up to the big ones, so there’s more cost involved with race fees and travel. Consider what new gear you may need to purchase so you can keep working out between wash cycles, and gear you may need or want to purchase to track your progress. And don’t forget the cost to maintain your current gear, bike, and running shoe rotation.
     

  5. Consider your family/friends. Make sure your family and friends are on board with what you're doing. Whether you are setting goals for long course or short course racing, the time you spend training is often time away from them. Make sure you have their support, but also make sure you leave time maintain those relationships important to you. A goal may be realistic to you physically, but you need to set priorities on relationships and lifestyle before you pursue those goals. You need your family and friends in your life, so make sure you consider time to spend with them too!


These are the big things I encourage athletes to consider in setting goals for the new season. I’m sure there are many more, so please feel free to comment with your suggestions below. Remember to keep those goals realistic! Setting yourself up for failure can be devastating, and that’s the last thing you want to do when it comes to keeping you motivated for a healthy lifestyle.





Coach Brian VanderMeulen, Head Coach, Tridogz Endurance Training; USA Cycling Certified Coach; www.tridogz.com

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date: December 12, 2015

Meulen