Start goal-setting the right way
T aking small steps, and celebrating those wins as you go, is the secret to achieving your goals.
I love setting big goals because they allow me to focus on where I want to head. If I set targets that are within arm’s reach, then they won’t mean as much to me as bold and meaningful goals that require grit.
People often feel overwhelmed by goal-setting. I get that. But that’s a good thing: goals can scare you into action.
The trick is to break goals down into bite-sized pieces. Goal-setting works backwards.
First, visualise what you want to achieve and then work out steps to get there. Remember to enjoy the journey and reward yourself with each milestone. It’s the little changes along the way that eventually add up.
For example, I dreamed of running a half-marathon and so I started with a walk/run routine for three months. Back then, I was so unfit that I’d puff pushing my toddler in a pram on the school run. Months later, I joined a run club for more motivation and ran my first 5km. I slowly built up the kilometres over 12 months, and then I conquered my first half-marathon. I was ecstatic because I achieved a dream – and I even managed another goal of doing it in under two hours. After that race, I planned my next goal: a marathon.
So, my running dream started small and ended up growing, bit by bit. Fast forward to today and I’m a multi-marathoner.
Choose goals that motivate and inspire you. Think of things that give you a fire in your belly. If you work hard at them, then you’ll feel empowered. Set short-term goals, but long-term ones too. Consider what you want in five or even 10 years.
Consider goals around areas such as your health, education, fitness, work or something personal. Just choose something that resonates with you and makes you excited. Then believe that you can achieve and work hard towards what you want.
Consider using the SMART method. This means setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific.
I have lots of goals at any one time in various areas of my life, including two fitness-related ambitions for 2017.
A scary personal goal is participating in Le Race, an 100km cycle race from Christchurch to Akaroa in March. TV3 presenter Mike McRoberts is also tackling this challenge.
Yes, cycling 100km scares me. I’ve never done a cycling event. Yes, I’m fearful I might not finish. However, this will “scare” me into action with training. Of course, the moment I was invited to do this event, I said “yes, please sign me up!” I thrive on crazy adventures.
Thankfully I’ve solved the small issue of finding a bike – Mt Eden Cycles has loaned me some wheels. Meanwhile, I’ve got the lycra, which makes me feel like Olivia Newton-John in Grease – kind of.
Another fitness goal is for me and my family. We are all doing Cigna Wellington Round the Bays in February. My son Zach, 11, is particularly excited as he will be running his first 10km and I’ll join him running this distance. I think his young, speedy legs may just leave me in his dust. My husband Damien will do the 6.5km fun run with Lachie, 9, and Finn, 5. Damien will likely be piggybacking little Finn near the end.
To help the kids get race-ready, our family will do more bike and scooter rides over summer, walk to school more often and venture out on walks. These activities will build the kids’ base fitness while Zach and I are doing run training.
I know there will be days when the kids feel like giving up. Who doesn’t? But I’ll remind them that rewards go to the dogged. My ultimate goal is to inspire my kids to be fit and healthy, which can help with happiness levels. So I’ll try and be a healthy role model as much as I can and hope they’ll follow in my footsteps. Rachel is a mum, marathoner, writer and yoga teacher.