My love for SMART goals is well-known. But today I want to talk about what I think is one of the hardest parts about goal setting, being realistic. I think it is the toughest part because you have to push yourself enough that it is a challenge but not so much that you feel like the end goal is impossible to reach. That delicate balance is really difficult to figure out. And honestly, I don’t have any good solid research or advice to give. I just have rambly thoughts (my favorite).
From my experience, setting some kind of baseline helps me get a good idea of an attainable goal. So, for examples sake, let’s use a nice easy task-running. I want to run a sub 9 minute mile half-marathon. Which puts me at around a 1:55 finish time. My last race was a 1:59. So that is a pretty attainable goal, in theory. But is it pushing myself enough? Seems like with another couple of months of proper training and not running a half marathon half dehydrated (perhaps tomorrow’s post will detail my problems with hydration) and in June, I would be able to attain this easily. So is it enough to push myself?
I also have a dream that one day I will run a 1:30 half. If I set the goal that I want to run my next half in 1:30, which means I would have to run about a sub 7 minute mile. Which I can (errr…I have once and I get into the low 7s) but only for 1 mile. A half marathon is 13.1. That’s a pretty loft goal and I can already feel myself getting frustrated with this goal.
Both of these goals demonstrate both ends of the spectrum with goal setting. Setting a realistic, attainable, but still challenging goal is freaking hard. And, for me, trial and error plus having a baseline tend to be the best approaches. But I know that they aren’t the only approaches.
How do you go about setting goals?