Goal Setting, Motivation & Compliance

We are entering the month of June. Bewilderingly the halfway point of 2018 is drawing near. It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were welcoming in the New Year and with that resolutions were made. Many of us had aspirations and goals for the year. Myself included. But how are those goals looking now? Are we still sticking to them? Were your excuses greater you’re your dreams?

At the start of this year I set myself a fitness goal. I wanted to run more and I know that for goals to work they need to be SMART.

setting-smart-goals

January’s goal was to run a total of 50 miles over the month. I decided that each month between January and May I would increase the total monthly distance working up to 62 miles (100km). My SMART goal was set.

Five months on and I don’t think it is too arrogant to say that I have smashed it! As a result of that, running has become a habit. An important part of my week and something that I relish. I’m proud of myself for sticking to my goal and following through on my intentions because I haven’t been as resolute in the past. As I’ve already mentioned I understand the SMART protocol for goal setting, I’ve done it before but with less success. So, what was different this time? This time there were some added extras. Accountability, Camaraderie and Kudos.

What I failed to mention in my opening paragraphs was that the goals I set were shared with a group of five friends who all wanted to achieve a similar objective. We each nominated a mileage for the month, abilities within the group varied and so January’s targets were set ranging from 20 to 50 miles and we agreed to increase the distances a little each month. We thought a reward might be helpful, so a Spa day was promised if we met our targets by the end of May.

It wasn’t realistic for us to exercise together at the same time in the way that running clubs might work so we set up a smartphone messenger group and posted evidence of the runs to the group having tracked them with our various activity tracking devices.

The message notifications telling me that a few of the others had been out that day would motivate me to get my running shoes on and brave the cold, the pride I felt for my friend who shared a Park Run PB or a Half Marathon finishers photo would encourage me to do my part. We congratulated one and other for our efforts.

At the end of each week, the ‘scores on the doors’ were posted. This was the total miles covered by each individual for that month. Sometimes it served as a nudge in the right direction when more work needed to be done. Often it was satisfying to see how the miles all added up drawing us nearer to the overall target.

I am proud to say that we have continually met our goals and a cumulative total of 1300 miles has earned us a Spa Day. But what now? The goal has been reached and the reward is soon to be redeemed. What next? I’ve been looking into what people should do once goals are reached. We can’t just keep increasing our mileage forever! That wouldn’t be realistic. We’d be setting ourselves up for failure. We need to re-evaluate. Our goals need to have a purpose. For our running group the initial purpose was to run more. Mission accomplished. Running is now a habit for all of us and it is fair to say we have the running bug. Now our attention can shift to areas of our performance that we want to improve. With half marathons and marathons on the horizon, speed is going to be an area of focus. Our goals need to be re-set. I’m pleased to say the squad are sticking together. New SMART goals are going to be agreed and I’m excited by the potential we have. Watch this space!

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