Everyone likes to set goals for what they do. Whether they are short term or long term, we all love setting goals for ourselves. They help us push our lives forward in ways we might not be able to if we just “winged it” all the time.Goals can be really helpful with reaching new milestones, but they can also lead to motivational setbacks if we consistently fail to meet them. In becoming a personal trainer I was taught to make goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented). While I agree with it in principle, I’ve since developed my own methodology for goals that I think better suits me.
You see, I think setting goals should be like applying for colleges. When you apply you typically have three tiers: you have your safety school that you will for sure get in to, your reasonable school that you should get in to, and your dream school that if you work really hard you might get in to. Go with me on this…
Before I exercise (because right now most of my goals revolve around this), I set 3 goals. For instance today’s goals were as follows:
1. Run 3 miles
2. Run 5 miles continuous
3. Run 7 miles total
I’m coming off an injury, but I knew I for sure could do 3 miles. Five miles continuous would be a challenge, but I should be able to, and 7 miles for today would be a dream goal. In this way, every time I run I set myself up to be successful. Sure, most days I probably won’t hit my dream goal, but I should always end up “ahead” by hitting two of my three.
I’ve found this has greatly helped my training and my motivation. Today was challenging, and I really wanted to hit 7 miles, but when my body gave out, I still got to feel truly accomplished because I met my other goals.
We can’t always meet every goal (and if we do then we probably need to start setting some more challenging ones), but we can always set ourselves up for success. So I urge you to give it a try. Set three goals–a safety, a challenge goal, and a dream one. No matter what you feel accomplished, and on the days when you do hit that third goal, you will be on cloud nine.