January is always the big month of goals and resolutions, but in my own experience I firmly believe that February is a great month for setting goals. Why? In January, you’re all excited about the new year and new possibilities. By February, you’re back to a normal schedule from the holidays, a little less excited about the new year, and have had time to work towards your goals. You’re in a more realistic state of mind, which means you set more realistic goals. With time, you are also able to recognize which goals matter the most to you and which ones aren’t as important.
I’ve written before about setting goals for running and developing short-term, long-term, annual, and lifetime goals. In this post, I want to talk about re-evaluating your goals, especially your short-term and long-term goals (primarily goals over the course of 2015).
Re-evaluating goals is a very different thing than giving up on goals. Giving up on goals happens when you simply stop, either deliberately or subconsciously, pursuing a goal. You stop doing yoga twice a week because other things get in the way and you don’t schedule time or prioritize it. You never run a race because you’re scared of the commitment and the work. You indulge too much in one weekend and, because you’re discouraged, you give up on healthy eating completely. These are examples of failing to meet your goals. There are always obstacles when you pursue anything challenging or worthwhile; it’s when you stop trying, not when you’ve had a setback that you have totally given up on a goal.
Re-evaluating goals is essential in the process of achieving your goals. Just as your dreams, desires, and gifts evolve over time, so too do your goals. Re-evaluating goals begins by reflecting on your list of goals, especially short-term and long-term goals. If you set a list of goals for 2015, review this list at the start of each list. Reassess how much these goals still mean to you, if they still present a challenge, how you are currently working to achieve them, and if you have any new goals.
New goals should not come about because you want an easier accomplishment or are afraid of whether you can actually achieve your current goals. New goals should come about because of an unrelenting desire for something, that accomplishment that you visualize over and over again and cannot let go of. These goals bury themselves deep in your mind and heart, refusing to be silent until they are achieved.
Adding new goals does not mean you have to sacrifice your current goals. In fact, if your original short-term and long-term goals conflict with your new goal, take some time to consider if your new goal is something you really want right now. Your goals should mean something to you, and therefore should not be replaced easily.
Re-evaluating your goals on a monthly basis is helpful in achieving your goals because, as we all know, life circumstances can change from month-to-month. You can change jobs, move to a different state, get pregnant, suffer an injury, or go back to school, all of which can impact your running goals, although some more than others. You probably want to delay your goal of running a PR in any given race distance if you find out you are running for two; an injury would prevent your goal of running 5 times a week and training for a half marathon. On the flip side, a new job may provide you the time to train for a marathon, or a new city may offer lots of opportunities for you to add yoga or Pilates classes to your routine.
A common saying goes, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Sometimes, when we sit down and sketch out our goals, we get stopped by fear. Fear of failure is a very human fear, and it often prevents us from setting a goal in the first place. Better to never fail, many of us think, than to aim for the stars, try our best, and still fail. Re-evaluating your list of goals can help you determine if fear has prevented you from achieving any, or if you should add new goals that present more of a challenge.
Re-evaluating goals also helps you focus on your passions. Perhaps at the start of the year, you added “run a race a month” as one of your goals, not because you wanted to do it, but because your running buddies had the same goal. A few months and a few races into the year, and you realize that lots of racing does not feel good on your body, nor does it fulfill your running dreams. Stepping away from this goal is not giving up on your goals, but rather part of re-evaluating what will make you feel the most accomplished at the end of the year. By re-evaluating your goals, you are able to clearly pinpoint not only what goals are not working, but what you want to focus on instead. You might decide to focus on a PR at a certain distance or running a new race distance.
Let me discuss my own short-term and 2015 goals for a moment as an example of re-evaluating goals. I said back at the end of 2014 that I was not going to run a marathon in 2015. The marathon, as it should, scares me. 26.2 miles is farther than I would want drive to commute to work, I kid you not. I did not include a marathon in my 2015 goals, in part because it scared me, in part because I didn’t want to set a goal I was not committed to. But even after writing about why I wasn’t going to run a marathon in 2015, I could not shake the idea. I keep looking up best Boston Qualifying courses, reading articles on marathons, and studying different marathon plans. I tried, but I could not shake the idea of making 2015 the year of the marathon, even the year of my Boston Qualifier.
I also feel more and more in love with distance running as I started base building. 7 miles in just under an hour is my current sweet spot for an easy run. Tempo runs bring smiles to my face and I’m running them as fast as I ran mile repeats in my previous training cycle. My long runs are faster than ever and are feeling nothing short of amazing.
After lots of evaluation and contemplation, I’ve added a Boston Qualifying marathon to my list of 2015 goals. This is a long-term goal, as I won’t race until October or November (likely the Indianapolis Monumental or the Seattle marathon, depending on life circumstances). My original goal of a sub-1:40 half marathon is right in line with this, and I’m hoping to attempt that goal in the late spring/early summer. These goals aren’t completely out of my reach based on my current fitness, but they’re big enough to scare me and require a lot of discipline, passion, and hard work.
Yes, a Boston Qualifier, a 3:35:00 or faster, for my first ever marathon. If your goals don’t scare you a bit, then they’re not big enough.
Need some extra motivation for your goals? Check out my Pinterest “Running Motivation” board for some inspiring quotes!
Question of the Day:
Have you changed any of your 2015 goals?
Do you take time to reassess your goals?