Short Terms Goals – The benefits
Working off small goals means we eat the elephant one bite at a time and don’t get overwhelmed trying to consume the beast quickly. I love big hairy audacious goals but the trap is the overwhelm you feel and then you are quintessentially the deer frozen in the headlights and nothing gets achieved!
This is why working with a coach is a good idea. We can look at where you are, where you want to go and then work backwards. We can break the goals down and get you to focus on monthly, weekly and even daily goals. It’s easy to set the “I want to race in Kona goal in 2 years or so” but it’s the daily discipline and focus that we must do in order to hit our goal. It’s these short terms goals that give us the long term consistency and maketh the athlete we become.
Break down your goal.
Again this is all about working backwards. Break it down into segments. Lets say you not only want to get to Kona (maybe that’s not an issue) but you may want to become World Champion.
We have to look at how we can make that possible. And then we have to give it the time required to make it happen – though sometimes we have to be realistic and say… well I might not be able to take 20 minutes off my swim, but I can take 10mins off it if I put everything into it and FOCUS and I can make that extra ten minutes up on the bike because that is a strength. Then I’m in the ball park.
So you may not be the favourite on paper but when you have the conscious VISION, it’s backed with a goal that’s planned with focus and action … well then, as the good ole ‘VERSUS Underdog’ commercial below says when the race is on “all bets are off”.
So of course your goals become highly individual now. But for simplicity… and an example, I could say. I want to win my AG in Kona. That would mean (conditions dependant), but I’d need to be in shape to be able to race the known contenders. So lets say that is a mid 50s non wetsuit swim, a low 4:40’s bike and a sub 3 hour run to be a potential world champ. That’s a fast time but that is what it would likely take to win on a good day in Kona.
What are the behaviours I have to create to be able to know that when I line up that I have a chance? This is an all important question.
Swim – what are my benchmarks? Where am I creating drag? How can I fix that? What do I need to focus on. Do I have movement restrictions that need to be fixed? So once these are known, I would say that every session counts. As soon as the goggles go on there is nothing else focused on except for the things that need attention – call it maniacal focus if you will.
I have to be willing to hurt. or as I like to tell my athletes … become comfortable at being uncomfortable.
And then I’d do the same for the bike and run.
No stones unturned.
And then the next question begs. Am I willing to create these behaviours? If not .. then your goal is not important enough to you and you will set yourself up for failure.
So we have to break it down to have a chance of making it a reality. These behaviours and focusing on marginal gains becomes our short term goals.
See the reason why we want to break the big goal down i.e. get to Kona or win in Kona for example is that you get to only focus on exactly what you need to do today – not oh.. somehow I need to be able to run comfortably at 4:15/km pace to run because that just drops you into overwhelm.
By breaking the goal down we can set an objective. “Get my stride rate into the mid 90’s- that is one foot hitting the ground 90+ times per minute” – so we have a tangible small goal now. How do you increase your stride rate? The key is to know your metrics. Where are you right now across your intuitive paces (easy, mod, mod-hard, hard)? That gives you a benchmark to work from.
From there you can use tools accordingly, like a treadmill set at 0% grade to help assist you to not only run at a higher stride rate but also at a lesser aerobic cost then it would to outside. You then focus intently every single opportunity you get. That is each and every run – you focus on your stride rate. You count it often and you drill the motor program into your body.
We know the best runners keep there stride rate up in the 90’s even at the back end of Ironman. So this has to become an autonomous skill especially when fatigued. So if it took running on a treadmill more often then not to greatly increase your chances to acquire this all important skill .. would you do it? or would you come up with the treadmills are boring excuse, or I don’t have a gym membership or insert excuse here?
So work out your big goal. Then break it down into it’s parts and then the behaviours you need to create and set a goal date for those to be achieved. Use the convenant framework as per part one for all your smaller goals too.
Then commit to just the first smaller goals and give a good three months – decide you’ll achieve them come hell or high water.
So each goal then has objectives… and then you need to work out how you will achieve those objectives and that is where a coach will come in handy as they can help you create the action plan. This has the benefit of not focusing on the big problem or challenge but just focusing on the next step. Looking at the entire goal just creates overwhelm. Look at the next step, because success is no accident really comes down to a series of steps (choices) and intense focus.
So what is the next best step? Who can help you with that? What information do you need right now? These are some needed questions and then you just have to keep chipping away. Continuous forward motion … it’s why I love repetition .. most people understand they need a plan to help them achieve their goals. But if you don’t have a well thought out and designed plan, one that stops you from jumping here there and everywhere then you just sabotage yourself.
Be consciously conscious of what you’re thinking of. Put it this way. If you’re constantly conscious of your actions and looking at the results of those actions. Over time you can shift accordingly based on those results. Conscious focused action. That is the key to doing anything you want.
You need knowledge to make the right decisions on the right actions to take and that is it. And of course you need to reduce the noise. Information overload will screw you.
This is why a coach will help you so much. They can give you the tools to success, the plans and action steps and turn off the noise. Because our brains are good at telling us we need more information before we can take that next step … all that is really is an excuse to justify why you can’t get there. That is just fear.
Conscious, focused action kills fear.
So to wrap this us and help you achieve your goals. Just look at your actions. Be conscious of then and bring conscious attention to your goals as often as possible. This is why you want them in your face each and every day. Keep them easily visible.
Set your weekly priorities and set about accomplishing them. Use coaches, friends, partners or your positive community to keep you accountable. They will help you also get through the inevitable tough days.
Know what you want and then set about getting it. Take some time out to figure out your dreams and goals and of course the action steps. Life is short but your potential is really endless. You’re much more powerful then you currently think.
Go get em …