By Dr. Abby Ruby
As the New Year begins, it’s time to reflect on the past year and decide how you’d like the next 12 months to flow. Many people focus on resolving to change something – positive or negative. I suggest setting goals, instead. Goal setting allows for modifications and simply provides a place to aim. Good luck and Happy New Year!
How to set goals for 2014:
Step 1: Take stock of what went well and what didn’t go well in 2013.
- What successes did you have in 2013?
- Why do you think you succeeded?
- What didn’t you accomplish in 2013? Honesty will get you closer to putting these goals back on the list for 2014. Don’t give up, re-commit.
- Why do you think you fell short?
- What did you learn from the experience and how can you do better in 2014?
Step 2: Establish your current baseline
Figure out where you are TODAY- this is a very important piece of the puzzle, it is the first piece of data you will need to work towards your 2014 goals.
Step 3: Find a calendar and create a timeline
Pick a goal (a race, competition or simply a measurement date) and mark it on the calendar.
Step 4: Create short-term goals that will help your forward progress towards your ultimate goal.
Incremental goals help keep you on track as you move towards your larger objective. Make sure those goals are measurable.
Step 5: Evaluate your goals:
- Ask yourself are you committed to your goal?
- If your answer is no: figure out what is standing in your way of fully committing.
- If your answer is yes: Write out a few reasons why you are committed to your goal- these will help remind you about your present state of mind when weeks and months from now you are perhaps losing focus.
- Is your goal specific? If it isn’t, can you make it more specific? Can you quantify it or measure it in some way?
- Is your goal challenging but realistic? If you can hit your goal tomorrow, it isn’t challenging. If your goal is to ride in the Tour de France this year and you started racing Cat 5 last year, it isn’t very realistic. Push yourself here, but be grounded in both your experience level and, perhaps most importantly, the amount of time you have to allot to your goal. Goals take work and work takes time; your goals need to be reasonable given your current amount of “free” time. If you were struggling to get in five hours of training last year and your goals are going to require 20 hours of training, you need to scale back.
- Is your goal measurable?
- Is your goal within your control?
- Do you have an appropriate timeline to reach your goal?
- Do you have intermediary goals along the way to measure your progress?
Remember though, goals are more than outcomes. Goals require action and integration. Who do you need to be in order to achieve your goals? What characteristics do you need to succeed? Break down each goal into manageable bites so that each and every day you feel as though you are taking steps to reach your goals.
Dr. Abby Ruby is a practitioner at The Vitality Center at Vail Mountain Lodge. She is a USA Triathlon Level II Coach, a NATA-BOC certified athletic trainer, a CISSN Sport Nutritionist, a RYT Certified Yoga Instructor and an author (In Sickness and In Health: Exercise Addiction in Endurance Athletes). Dr. Ruby offers group and one-on-one coaching options, including: nutrition counseling, optimal performance strategy, life coaching and sports psychology. Call 970-476-7960 for information.