Hello ULTRAFIT WOMEN! We are in the last few weeks of 2010, its a great time to start planning and start goal setting for this year. We have asked a fellow SBJJ attendee and triathlon competitor, Hayley Espelund to write an article giving us some tips on how we can appropriately set achievable short and long term goals. Be sure to take notes so you can best apply them when you are planning your goals for this next year!! Here’s the article…
I have had the pleasure of watching many young athletes (and recently, older) get in better shape and pursue athletics beyond what they originally thought themselves capable of. I contribute it mainly to proper goal setting and a good work ethic. Goal setting is important because it is the foundation by which you build the rest of your training on. As you reach your first goals, you will become more confident of what you want for yourself and your sport, and be more motivated to continue to train and reach further goals. The following are some tips for goal setting.
Accountability: When setting goals it is important to have accountability. This can come in the form of a trainer (recommended for new athletes or in a new sport) or a friend or training partner. It is important that it is someone who knows your abilities and your sport. They can help you in setting realistic goals and hold you accountable in achieving them, and better yet, may be able to train with you. Writing your goals down, both short and long term, also serve as a form of accountability which you can reference to when training.
Flexibility: There is no one who is in complete control of what they can accomplish and their limits. Even professional athletes must learn when to let go of goals and when to increase their difficulty. We are often limited in achieving goals by sickness, injury or unplanned events. It is important to give yourself grace when you aren’t able to accomplish what you wanted at the time line that you planned. Re-evaluate goals every couple of weeks to make sure you’re on target.
Setting short term, intermediate and long term goals: All goals must be attainable but challenging. Short term goals should be very specific and take place within a few days to a month (ex: I am going to attend 3 kickboxing classes this week and work on my form when blocking kicks). Intermediate goals are aimed around 1-6 months out, these goals often take several steps to achieve and therefore your short term goals may be the steps you need to achieve the intermediate goals. Long term goals are aimed outside of 6 months, and because your body and skills will change as you get in better shape, long term goals may need to be occasionally re-evaluated but should serve as your overall motivation (ex: I would like to be competitive in kickboxing, but first I must be able to train 5 days a week, and have this specific set of skills that I will achieve in my short term goals).
Planning goals: I generally work backwards when goal planning. For example, I am a competitive triathlete, and my long term goal has been a specific time for each of the 3 sports. This specific time will be challenging for me to get to, but given my past times I know it is possible. My intermediate goal is to build a good base (long and endurance workouts, strength training but not much speed). All my short term goals to reach this intermediate goal revolve around endurance training. After I meet this intermediate goal of a good base, I will structure my short term goals around speed in order to hit the times of my long term goal. Having the goals in front of me helps keep me from becoming discouraged should I have illness or injury problems.
Competitions: Not everyone is competitive, but I have found that competition can be a great motivator for people of any athletic ability. If you know you are going to compete, you will be a lot more motivated to pursue your training. Athletic competitions also help push you to the brink of your abilities, thus challenging and stretching you more than you may on your own. I recently trained a lady who had not competed for over 20 years. She entered into the competition simply to motivate herself to train. The competition was her long term goal, and her short term goals became more specific as she learned what her weaknesses were and what she needed to work on. She placed 2nd and amazed herself! She is now sold on competition.
What not to do: I try to encourage people (women especially) not to make losing weight a short term goal. When a person enters into a new sport, they will often gain weigh initially (due to gaining more muscle mass). Weight loss needs to come from a lifestyle change, NOT a diet or even a temporary exercise routine. A long term plan to change eating, sleeping and exercise habits permanently needs to be implemented in order to lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss is best achieved as a result of a long term fitness and health plan and should not be the only goal. I have seen many people abandon a healthier lifestyle just because they did not initially lose weight, even though they were increasing their cardio fitness, muscle mass (thus increasing calories burned on a daily basis), and bone mass.
In summary, it is important for people of all athletic abilities to set goals; otherwise it is easy to become complacent, unmotivated, or discouraged. Proper goal setting will help you improve both fitness and performance! If you need help achieving your goals and getting in shape then come into Seaside Women’s UltraFit Bootcamp and have fun with us and join our goal setting family, you can even try out a 30 Day FREE Trial!
Warrenton H.S. Track and Cross Country Coach