As spring brings the world around us to life, it also gives us a renewed spirit; a desire to improve ourselves.
Unfortunately, our desires often peter out before we make any real progress – especially when it comes to running.
Truth be told, it takes a lot of drive and determination to run, especially starting out.
That’s why it’s so important to set the proper goals starting out.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips and strategies to help you set and achieve your running
Step 1 – What do you really want?
When setting a goal, the very first question you need to ask yourself is ‘what do I really want?’ and
really think about it. Don’t just make your goal “I want to run every day” or “I want to be a runner”
because there’s nothing to reach for or motivate you. You can do better than that. Try to make
your goal more tangible like “I want to run 5 miles without stopping by June 1st” or “I want to run a 5k
in less than 30 minutes in the Ogden City 5k”. This kind of goal will be a lot more motivational and give
you something to work towards. It also gives you a target date.
Once you’ve decided what you really want, WRITE IT DOWN, because if you don’t you might as well go
sit on your couch and eat Twinkies and watch the Biggest Loser.
Whether you like it or not, writing down goals is critical to your success! In fact, there was a study
done with graduates from Harvard University back in 1979. They were asked a simple question: “Have
you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The interviewers were
surprised to find out that :
84% had no specific goals at all
13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them.
In 1989, ten years later, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class. The results
The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together. (Source: from the book ‘What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School’, by Mark McCormack)
If you don’t get anything else from this article, get this… Write down your goals!
And if you’re saying to yourself that you don’t have time to write down your goals, then how on earth
are you going to have time to accomplish them?
Write your goal down!
Step 2 – Why do you want it?
Just as important as the goal itself is coming up with the reason why you actually want to accomplish your goal. In most cases this is actually harder to come up with because you have to really think about the true motivation behind your goal.
Your why is the power that moves you toward achieving your goal; that pushes you to keep running when you don’t think you can go another step.
It’s also a great way for you to tell if you’re setting the right goal, because if you can’t come up with
a compelling enough reason why you should accomplish your goal, then you probably have the wrong goal.
Once you’ve come up with your reason or reasons why you absolutely must accomplish your goal, write it down under your goal.
Step 3 – How are you going to do it?
Remember the 3% of the Harvard graduates that made 10 times more than all of the other 97% combined? Part of their incredible success was that they wrote down a plan to accomplish their goals.
This is the 3rd piece of the puzzle. You need to come up with an actual strategic plan on how you’re going to accomplish your goal. It should include ambitious, but realistic milestones with attainable target dates next to them.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. It can be 3 milestones or 10. It can be 3 sentences or
3 pages – there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to just write down what
comes to you, because in almost every case, your first impressions will probably be right.
Step 4 – Exponentially increase your chance of success
Now that you’ve got your goal, your motivation, and your plan all written down, you’re way ahead of the
game, but your still not out of the woods. There are 3 more things you can do that will exponentially
increase the likelihood of you successfully reaching your goal.
Sign and date your goal – by signing and dating your goal you are creating a binding contract with yourself, and the second you sign that paper, your mind will automatically start trying to figure out how to honor that agreement. After all, you just put your integrity and trust on the line, and nobody wants to breach a contract, right?
Tell someone about your goal – While it’s very important to write down your goal, telling someone about it will help to hold you accountable. It can often become easy to scratch our goals or let ourselves down when the going gets tough, but the odds of you not following through drop significantly if you tell someone.
Go for a daily ‘Power Walk’ – Power walks are special. They give you the ability to take a step back
from your daily life and look at the bigger picture for a moment. The best time to go for a power walk is right after you finish running or working out. During my power walk I usually start out expressing my gratitude to my creator for the blessings and opportunities in my life, including the opportunity to accomplish my goal. Then, once my head is clear and I’m focused, I think of my goal and try to visualize accomplishing it, along with ways that I can make small improvements in my next run in order to inch closer to my goal.
And there you have it! This is the most effective way to reach your running goal or goals for 2011! Good luck and have a great running season.
Scott Brandley is a successful entrepreneur, a passionate runner, a loving father, and the creator of the ‘Number 1 Weight Loss Secret’ motivational weight-loss program. For more information go to number1weightlosssecret.com.