It’s October which means we should all be 75% done with our New Year’s Resolution. You’re still working on yours, right? Don’t worry – this year is the first time I’ve had a resolution make it out of January. And now it’s almost October. I decided in December 2012 that I wanted to run one race in each month of the year. Why did this resolution stick while most fail? Whether or not I realized it last December, this was a good resolution because it was SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). I’m sure you’ve heard this term thrown around before as I have in the past. I’ve been ok at accomplishing goals in the past but this is the first time I’ve stayed exactly on course. Here’s how my goal fits the SMART criteria:
Specific: Run one competitive (officially timed and scored) race each month of a distance I can comfortably complete (5k-Half)… yep pretty specific. This tells me exactly what I need to accomplish each month.
Measurable: Did I run the race or not this month? Hmm… very easy to measure.
Attainable: Have I gone for a run before? Yes, probably thousands. Have I raced before? Yes, I ran cross country in high school. Am I injured currently? No. Can I afford a $20-$60 race entry fee each month? Ugh, yes, I suppose so. Sounds like I should be able to do this.
Relevant: Am I naturally a runner and interested in improving my running skills? Yes, and yes. This goal works in my life.
Time-bound: Finish final race by December 2013. It’s going to be cold here in the Midwest but I can handle it. Knowing that I will be done at a specific point in time also helps the task feel less daunting.
Think of your own goals and how you can make them SMART. What I truly wanted to achieve this year was an “improved fitness level.” Unfortunately, when most people set goals, they simply say “I want to improve my fitness level.” Instead, set a goal like mine. It could be for anything. By doing so, you will accomplish your goal without losing track. I have no idea what goals I want to achieve next year, but at least now I know how to set a goal that I can accomplish. Wish me luck on my remaining three races!