Effective goal setting means defining specific aims and targets that are
1) (with time and effort) actually Attainable
2) Clearly Identified
3) In some way Measurable
Think of this as AIM –
Attainable – Identified – Measurable
– and ask yourself if your goal meets these criteria?
For example, being able to run for 50 miles, or to run a half-marathon in 2hrs 30 mins are examples of effective, clearly defined goals.
I) They are attainable if you practice long enough and hard enough.
II) They are clearly identified not simply a vague desire to improve.
III) They can be measured allowing you to know if you are improving, if you are getting closer to achieving your goal, and/or when you have achieved/surpassed the goal.
Examples of poorly defined – and thus less effective – goals would be things like “getting fitter” (How will you determine if you are fitter?) or “running faster” (At what speed and under what conditions? For how long? Over what distance?) – etc. These are poorly defined and thus ineffective goals – they do not allow for an easy way to measure progress or define success in achieving the goal.
Defining you goals is the most important first step. Having defined your goals, training can then be planned by determining what you need to do in training in order to achieve your goals. Having clear goals then also helps keep you motivated and focused during training.
Effective goal setting usually means the goal should contain a measurable element. Running a specific distance is something that can be measured. Lifting a specific weight is something that can be measured. Achieving a specific speed or time is something that can be measured.
If a goal itself is measurable this means that progress towards a goal can also be measured.
If you wish to be able to run 26 miles and at present you can manage to run 10 miles, then if in training you develop the ability to run 15 miles you are improving and moving closer to achieving your goal.
Having a poorly defined goal does not allow easily measurable and quantifiable progress; if your goal was to “run further” would being able to run 15 miles mean you have already achieved your goal, or that you still have a long way to go? How far is far? Is you current performance a small improvement or a huge improvement? Clearly defining your goals allows suitable training to be chosen and it allows you to measure your progress (and thus tell if the training is working).
see also : S.M.A.R.T.Tweet this!