I try not to set short term goals. I really don’t think it’s beneficial for a goal to have a time frame. Or at least not for most goals especially fitness based ones. NONE of my fitness goals have a date I want them to be completed by or a date where I’ll be happier with myself if I get there. I plan on continuing to work on my health, running (speed and distance), strength, fitness and personal growth for the rest of my life. But I am also realistic, that there are many factors out of my control that can and will affect me along the way. There will naturally be peaks and valleys.
1. Setting short term fitness or weight loss goals reduces your current happiness: It give the impression that you are not good enough until that goal is achieved. But that’s not true. Value is not dependent on ability level.
Solution: COMMIT TO THE PROCESS. Focus on the practice instead of the performance or aesthetics. Create a system a routine that you can maintain and let it adapt as you grow. You will be able to enjoy the moment more and trust that you’re improving on yourself at the same time.
2. Goals are competing against the long term process: When all of your focus is based on one goal date. What is left after you achieve it? This is what creates the yo-yo effect. And sometimes you just don’t know what to focus on anymore. You lose track and until things fall off again you don’t set another goal.
Solution: Release the need for immediate results. Goals are for short term results, hitting a particular number, running a certain distance… System based thinking is about sticking to the process, not missing workouts or eating all the food. Systems are about the long term process.
3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you can’t: You can’t predict your future. By setting a goal we kind of try to. We predict how fast we think we can progress, even though we have no clue what situations or set backs will come up.
Solution: Use feedback/progress reports as your gauge. Progress is stil important. We want to see that we are improving without telling ourselves to what degree improvement needs to occur. Forget about predicting how fast you can change, and what’s going to happen next week, build a system that can last for you. You will constantly see small changes and development. Then adapt to that system and change things up as you move forward.
Example: I have set a lot of running goals one of them was running a sub 4 hour marathon. I trained really hard and ran my first marathon in 3:55. But obviously I wanted to get faster. I needed some kind of next “bigger” goal. I decided I wanted to Boston Qualify (for me a sub 3:35 marathon) I trained really hard and ran my next full marathon in 3:45. This is a great marathon time. But ultimately my goal of Boston Qualifying was not met. I was kind of let down. Did I fail? Hell NO! I did complete a marathon in a great time. But technically I didn’t achieve what I set out to. This is why goals kind of set you up for your own let down at times. I do want to run for the rest of my life. So I’m committed to the process, the training, the nutrition for the long term. I have already amazed myself with what my body is capable with committing to the process. The body has it’s own time frame.