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Start Small but Reach for the Stars – Goal Setting for 2017

Now that January is here and the craziness of the holidays has passed I have time to reflect on 2016 and start planning for 2017. I have spent many cold solo miles on my bike lately thinking about what I want to achieve this year. We are already two weeks into the new year and while I am not a big fan of new year’s resolutions I do believe in setting goals for the new year and beyond. Every year and every day for that matter, I want to become a faster, more skilled and experienced athlete, but how about setting some concrete and measurable goals.

When setting goals, it’s good to keep things realistic, but also to think about what your dream achievement might be. If you ever want to reach that dream goal the time to start working toward it is now. Start setting immediate and short term goals for yourself, but always keep that dream in mind along the way. One person’s dream accomplishment may be to run a marathon while another’s might be to get to the gym three days a week. Whatever your goal is, through hard work, you can definitely achieve it, although it won’t happen overnight.

Here are some tips to make goal setting manageable:

Set a short-term goal and give yourself a one-month deadline to achieve it.

Make this goal something realistic and achieveable in just one month. Your one-month goal could be to go for a three mile run, to lose three pounds, or to make it to at least one spin class. Make this goal small so you have no excuse for not accomplishing it.

Set a six-month goal.

As with the one month goal and all goal setting, make this six-month goal realistic, however, since you have more time to achieve this goal it can be a bit loftier than the first one you set for yourself. Your six-month goal could be to lose ten pounds, to improve your speed on the bike by one mile per hour over a certain course, or to sign up for and complete a half marathon. This goal will take more work to achieve, but should definitely be doable in a six-month timeframe.

Set a one-year goal.

What do you want to have accomplished by December 31st of 2017? Is it getting to the gym every week, competing in your first triathlon, losing 20 pounds? Whatever it is, think about that goal, you have almost a whole year to achieve it. Also make sure your earlier goals are leading you on the path to achieving your more long-term goals.

What is your dream accomplishment?

Would you love to run a marathon some day, lose 40 pounds and keep it off, bike around the world; whatever it is, remember that anything is possible. If you can stick to and accomplish your one month, six month and one year goals throughout 2017 you will be well on your way to achieving your dream accomplishment

Use help and encouragement from others to hold yourself accountable.

Sometimes making your goals public is a good thing. If your friends and family know what you are shooting to accomplish in 2017 they can give you encouragement, support and also help hold you accountable. If your goal is to go to the gym every week and every day your spouse just sees you sitting on the couch after work, they might be able to give you that gentle nudge to get you up and out the door. If you have a loftier training goal you can share your steps on the road to that goal via social media to gain support from friends and family along the way. The people who love you want to see you succeed and their encouragement may help keep you on the road to success.

So, to hold myself accountable, after much thought over the past couple of weeks, here are my personal goals for 2017.

One month goal – complete a five-mile run and get back into the pool to start swimming again

Six month goal – complete a half marathon

One year goal – run and bike at least a few hundred miles more than I did in 2016

Dream Accomplishment – Complete a full Ironman race.