By Tyler Hollingsworth
"Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk." - James Cash Penny.
Want to be successful? Set yourself some goals; without them, you are dreaming. In this post, Aspire Atlantic's founder will walk you through 5 steps that will turn your goals into reality by explaining how he went from being a complete rookie at running, to completing the Comrades Marathon within six months.
"What do you want to achieve?" The chances are it has something to do with having more money or being happier, right? If you are one of our scholarship athletes, you probably want to win a full-ride scholarship to a division 1 university! This is a great place to start, as not all goals are created equally. Which is why I am going to teach you the SMART Goal Setting Method, the same method I used, to turn my wish, into reality!
1) Be Specific:
The S in SMART goals stands for Specific. People tend to be very vague when setting goals, in order to achieve something we need to drill down on exactly what we want. For example, people might say, "I want to lose weight," this is too generalised. Instead, you should say, "I want to go to the gym four times per week, for 1 hour!". When I started my Comrades training, I didn't simply run on the weekends and hope I would be ready. I consulted experience runners and followed a specific training schedule to the letter! The programme was specific, so I knew exactly what I needed to focus on.
2) Make Your Goals Measurable:
Smart Goals are measurable goals! Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated, and it is a great way to pivot if you aren't reaching your targets. If your goal is to lose weight and you have been going to the gym consistently, set smaller measurable miles stones along the way. For example; "I want to lose 3 kgs per month for two months", reaching these smaller miles stones is what will keep you motivated. At the start of my Comrade's prep, my first milestone was to run three times per week; During my second month, my milestone was to run five times per week. Seeing that my body could handle those distances, my confidence grew.
3) Your Goals Need to be Attainable:
A stands for Attainable. Make sure you can achieve your dreams. Don't set impossible goals, as you will soon realise the enormity of your task and give up. Your goals should be challenging but achievable. For example, saying "I want to make 1 million rand by the end of the month" is not realistic, but making an extra R1000 by the end of the month is. By setting achievable goals, you will gain the confidence and experience you need to keep going. During my Comrade's journey, many people thought I was crazy to take on the race as a complete rookie. Some of you reading this might be thinking the same. Well, I believe the only thing that limits people is themselves. Whether you believe you can, or you can't run the Comrades, either way, you are right!
4) Are your goals Relevant?
Your goals should be relevant to your life. Think to yourself, "Will achieving this goal improve my life?", you need to think of the opportunity costs and trades off's. Are you willing to give up sleeping in 5 times per week and do you have the time in your day to run for an hour each morning? For me, when someone says they are too busy or they do not have time to do something, what they are actually saying is that their goal is not a priority. If you want something, you will make time for it even if you have to wake up at 4:30 am every day for the next 6 months. For me, wanting the Comrades medal taught me so much more than I bargained for, such as the value of dedication, waking up early, and with small sacrifices, you can have anything you want.
5) Time Bound:
Smart goals are bound by deadlines. You need to set a specific date that you want your goal to have been reached. For me this was easy, race day was June 9th, 2019, but for most goals, you will need to set an exact date for when you want to have attained your goal. If your goal doesn't have a time limit, then you will put it off for tomorrow and then the next, which will result in procrastination and failure. Think back to when you've had a project at work or school, you were likely given a month to do it but ended up doing it in the last two days. Why? Because there was no urgency and if you had no deadline you would never have got it done. Setting a date for attainment is key to the SMART method.
Now you know how to set Smart, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals in 5 easy steps. Your goals should look something like this. "I will exercise 5 times per week and run an average of 200 Kilometers per month, in order to have prepared my body to withstand the rigours of the Comrade's Marathon by June 9th, 2019! In order to reach this goal, I am willing to sacrifice sleeping in and I will wake up at 4:30 am each morning for the next six months."
Thank you for reading the blog on Goal setting. I apologise to all the non-runners out there, but if you would like help with alternative goals, please contact email@example.com.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.