This is long and I’m going to have to break it into a couple of parts … but knuckling down and developing your goals and making them a reality is not small task and nor should it be.
So grab yourself a coffee, a pen and dive in.
Did you do your homework from last week? That is did you start creating and refining your vision?
If not or you missed the vision post – take a moment and go back and read it.
Remember bringing about success is really about a couple of things in order: how you think and what you do.
So once your vision is done, you need to continually reference that vision over and over. Take time out and meditate over it (an aside: I personally have not learned to meditate .. yet, but I do close my eyes and run my visions through my mind, working on bringing them into crystal clear focus, while getting all senses – sight, smell, noise, touch into play.) or even just reread it often. This should be fun. Make it so.
A life without goals is an average life .. and who wants to be average?
Goals are a BIG part of successful peoples lives, but what most people struggle with is not the creating the goal part – it’s the continual focus on the goal and making the right decisions to lead us to their attainment.
It’s a process.
To achieve our vision, the first step is the goal setting. But, we need to set up a process or processes that will remind us to zero in and focus on them in our daily lives and not be pulled back into the merry-go-round of where we currently are.
We have all likely heard of SMART goals – you know, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound and these have been great and proven to work. But can we drill down even further to ensure success? Is there another way?
The problem is we may have a massive goal. Say it’s to get to Kona. You may be a long way off (for now) and looking at all the areas you need to improve to put yourself in the ballpark of qualifying can quickly send you into overwhelm and create the ‘deer in headlights’ scenario.
So we need to break that big goal down into fragments and only work off what can actually be achieved within a small time frame.
Our goals need to be in-our-face all the time.
You need to create personal accountability, no excuses policy and then review our goals each week and month.
This allows us to go back and see if we did what we said we were going to do and make corrections – otherwise we get to year end and are potentially in the same place as we were the year before.
See those goals everyday + the right focused action = eventual attainment.
Remember the whiteboard.
So we have written the goal down … it has to be written down and it has to have a date set on it. Now to turn this goal into a reality, what are the action steps I need to take today, tomorrow, this week, next week and so on?
First though … lets remove the craziness that is “we can have it all tomorrow’.
We all want it now, I know, I want it now too, but our big hairy audacious goals don’t work like the ‘have now, pay back later’ terms which are a societal norm these days.
We need set the goal, we need to see it daily, have a consistent review process and a means of accountability – then work our asses off on focusing on just the next step. And I won’t lie.. this is the hardest part. The part we all struggle with. Just focusing on the next step.
Back to that Kona goal. A step might be we need to improve our run. Looking at the overall run split you need to achieve and working pacing based off of that is what most athletes do. This can create overwhelm as it could be so far removed from current reality. But first you could go and see if you have any movement inefficiencies through an FMS and then have a SMR/Mobility program to improve this, you could also simply get aware of what your current stride rate is. Then focus on improving those two aspects concurrently.
Better mechanics and better motor patterns.
Both these things would give you benchmarks where you are and then could be actioned immediately and then focused on each time you run or train.
Back to the SMART goals – recently I stumbled upon another goal frame work that drills down a bit further then the SMART ones. It’s is called a COVENANT framework.
“A COVENANT is a solemn agreement to engage in a specified action”.
This is an agreement with yourself! Take YOUR goals and developing your life seriously.
OK lets look at the frame work
Commitment: You need to be committed to this and for the long haul. It has been said time and time again that most people give up when success is just around the corner. Back in 2008 I nearly pulled the pin on Ironman WA after some disappointing mistakes in Kona. I was back training, was overwhelmed with the amount of work I had on and was making excuses .. there was also likely some FEAR about if I could go under 9 hours again with literally half the volume. But I was committed, I was going anyway and I just focused on what I could do in each session. Result – I went under 9 hours again (after working 4 full on days setting up and working the expo with Trigger Point and breaking it down until 6pm the night before the race) and won my age group.
Imagine if I had quit. What would I have missed out on?
I was dedicated to the goal (to win my age group) and committed to myself. But know that it is never smooth sailing. Things won’t happen as fast as you’ll want, you’ll work extremely hard and may not see much progress. Will you give up or do you really really want it? You have to answer this. If you don’t really want it you’ll end up sabotaging your results.
I can tell you how long and how much effort went into getting to Kona the first time. And I’m glad it took how long it did. It made me a better athlete and a better coach. It would have been easy to give up on it but the burning desire was there.
“Usually big changes happen imperceptibly, and it’s only in retrospect that we can recognise them”
One more thing on the commitment side of things. Back when we started the sport the first thing we did was get a coach, we got a training schedule and we (Charlotte and I) adhered to it. I was 25 and had a little too much non serving ego and was unrealistic in expectations where as Charlotte did what she was told .. to the letter (just took me a little longer ;). She just converted herself and followed everything to a T.
Charlotte became an exceptional athlete – her first Ironman she came second in her age group and got a ticket to Kona. She had the goal of completing an Ironman, the date was set and she followed the plan as she believed this would allow her to meet the challenge and enjoy the experience. No misguided expectations like I had.
Organised: Anyone who reaches their big goals is organised. It means everyone you have on your support team knows what the goal is. Your big long-term goal (get to Kona) is broken down into short-term goals which then can be organised into what needs to be accomplished for each little step. Think of it as a map. You need to run faster? Ok, the next logical step would be to see where your stride rate is – then focus on getting it drilled into the body so it’s autonomous in the 90+ steps per foot per minute in a fatigued state. This means you can consistently look at what you need to do for the next few steps and only focus on one step at a time.
Values/Vision: Ok there needs to be some congruency here. If you want to get to Kona this year but you are 90 minutes off typical qualifying times and you can only train 10 hours per week then your goal is not aligned. It’s a possible outcome but it won’t likely be this year. It will be a longer term focus – working on all the moving parts to become the athlete that is 90 minutes faster. I do know an athlete that sits around the 10 hours of weekly training volume. But… he has been doing this for years and has an enormous athletic age and development behind him and that allows him to get to Kona.
Enlightened: Ironman triathlon – lets face it, is a pretty selfish goal. And that is ok. It’s more ok if you bring your family and friends into being a part of the goal so that there support is part of the attainment of the goal. But even more then that we all know that our actions speak volumes more then our words do. So your setting of your goals, your discipline of taking focused actions ends up leading by example and allows you to help others dream big and put them on the path to goal achievement themselves.
So thinking how your goal ends up helping others is a big step to becoming enlightened.
It’s a win-win situation.
Noticeable: Remember the whiteboard or vision board?
Your goals NEED to be seen every single day. I have my vision boards in my office. We even have a full office wall whiteboard … to do list, goal list and the things we want to achieve. I have my gratitude and goal/dream journals. We have things put on the fridge and around the place. This is being serious about the attainment of your goals and greatly helps with the visioning aspect of goal attainment.
You have to notice it regularly and it drills it into your subconscious.
Accountability: Everyone needs accountability to help them achieve their goals. This is where a like minded positive community/mastermind can greatly help you. Successful people surround themselves with people or a person that not only provides support but keeps them accountable. Regular reminders and a little push sometimes is a great help. The lack of accountability is major reason why most goal setting fails. So use a coach and a positive action taking community to keep you accountable.
Numerical: What are your benchmarks? How do you know you’re progressing if you don’t have any measurements to gauge off. This is why I love a highly thought out training structure that repeats itself because it provides clarity and great feedback. It develops you into an intuitive athlete. Allowing you to see the effects of multiple decisions you make on the training you do. Using stride rate again. You can benchmark your different intensities and paces and see where you are stride rate wise. Then you can focus on developing those and then retesting where you are. You can directly see progress (but remember commitment … some things take greater time to see the improvements). We can use benchmarks like the repeated 100s swim set, or power on the bike. Pacing is an obvious one. But you have to have KPI’s (key performance indicators).
Time Bound: We all know one thing when we sign up for a race. It has a date and it’s up to us to be ready in every way once race day comes. So a race is an easy one because it has a completion date on it. But lets use the Kona goal again as an example. You maybe a ways off qualifying yet. But the Kona goal is a burning desire (good, it needs to be, for attainment). Still you need to put a date on it. For this instance you could say I’m going to be racing in Kona on the 8th of October 2016.
Excellent. We now have a time bound goal. We have the vision and it’s in plain view but now we need to break it down into smaller goals and smaller time frames. Then we fully concentrate on that one small goal. At first I would personally look at the low hanging fruit so to speak but that can only be done by looking at where you are in terms of strengths and weaknesses and where you need to get to in terms of being able to qualify. Each of those can be broken down into it’s own focused goal and have a time frame attached to it.
And that is the starting point on developing goals that stick. So look at the covenant frame work and fit your goals into it.
In the next instalment I will show you how you break those big goals down into short terms goals and develop an action plan based on it.
In reality what I’m trying to impart here is that Success is not an accident and that is a whole other article in itself.