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Goal Setting, Following and Adjusting

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso         


Each of you signed up for MIT in an attempt to change something. For some that may be to live healthier, happier lifestyles. For others it is to improve upon your fitness and perhaps achieve a certain goal time or qualifying standard. Maybe one of the reasons is to lose weight, or meet new people. Whatever the reasons, we each have something compelling us to pursue this journey. All the passion and strength that drives you to change your lives is incredibly inspiring.

 Now ask yourself, have I set specific, meaningful and attainable goals. All the reasons mentioned above are fantastic motivators to change. However, without setting specific goals we have no plan of action. Taking time to develop short-term and long-term goals that are specific, meaningful and attainable is the true key to your success.

 Many of you know that I like to share my goals. I feel that sharing my goals holds me more accountable. My primary goals for the last three years have been primarily focused around my family, taking on new challenges and hitting a mileage goal for the year.

  • For the past two years I have been absolutely amazed by the strength on my mother and brother as they have taken up No Boundaries training, and then joining MIT. My mom, Sue, completed her first half marathon last May, and I can’t think of a moment I was more proud. My brother, Andy, has now run three full marathon and a couple 50Ks! Then to my greatest surprise while uploading new MIT participants there I saw “Frank Henderson – New Half Marathon Participant!” I was floored! My 66 year-old father, the man who first inspired me to get out and run, was taking a major step to improve his fitness! Now I get to see all three of them each Saturday morning!
  • I completed my first duathlons and triathlons in 2012. I struggled in my last triathlon, but there is something about the feeling that comes from completing a task that you truly have to battle through! I ran a trail marathon in New York and followed it up with biking up a 4,000+ foot mountain. I moved into a new house in Clintonville with my lovely girlfriend, Jacqueline, who also did her first triathlon last year!
  • I missed my running mileage goal, which was a bit of a disappointment. I had set out to run 2012 miles. I missed it by just over 300 miles. But, I also biked over 1,000 miles, swam several more, and learned more about myself in 2012 than in any year prior.

 I strive to make very specific goals. Vague goals become easily muddled, are hard to follow and are very easy to give up on. Each of my goals was incredibly meaningful to me. Without goals that truly inspire you to do better you are simply wasting your time. I also firmly believe that setting attainable goals is crucial! You must challenge yourself, but also be realistic with your abilities. If losing weight, or reaching a qualifying time standard is one of your goals make sure that it is challenging while also realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

 Once you have set your specific, meaningful and attainable goals stick to them! Use them along with your training plans, dietary plans, etc. and be true to yourself and true to your schedules! Share your goals with your training partners and your family. Maybe you’ll be fortunate enough that by sharing your goals enough with friends and family they too will join you in your journey!

 My goals for 2013 are a continuation of some of my prior goals, while a couple are completely new. Each has a very specific and meaningful purpose. They are a huge challenge, but I truly believe that they are attainable as I am more motivated than ever to give my all in every aspect of my life! There are four wonderful people I have to blame for that…they know who they are!

  • Many of you know that there are two things that get the best of me… First is my family. Getting my family involved in MIT has brought us together in ways that nothing else could. Each day our family is growing closer and sharing our success on the trails has played a huge part in that. Second, is our community. Growing up in Worthington I have watched Central Ohio evolve from a sedentary community to one that is slowly becoming more and more active. My primary focus for 2013 and beyond is to develop more healthy, active outlets, for families. Not everyone wants to train for a half or full marathon. So, what is it that I can do to get more families out at our State Parks for a weekend hike, or getting families out to their community tracks to walk a few laps a couple days a week? What can I do to encourage more healthy, active lifestyles in Central Ohio? You will see more and more initiatives focused on this. You will all play a crucial part in it and I couldn’t be more excited! Stay tuned for this one!
  • Continue tackling new endeavors. I’m going to start rock climbing. I want to read no fewer than two books a month. I am going to make healthier lunches to take to work so that stop eating at the pizza place next to the store everyday.
  • I am, along with my brother Andy, going to qualify for Boston again so that he and I will run it together in 2014. Andy and I will run more miles together so that I can help him get down to a sub-3:10 marathon. I will accept nothing less than my best out of each workout so that I can run a sub-3:00 marathon this July at the Missoula Marathon and a sub-2:45 marathon by the end of 2014. Along the way I will run every day in 2013 and again strive to reach 2013 miles in 2013!

 Remembering that our goals are to be specific, meaningful and attainable I have tough challenges ahead as should you! With help from our friends and family we can follow the plans that we’ve put in place. That is of course as long as something doesn’t get in the way to interrupt our training and goals. The key to this is to stay out of the way. Set your goals, create you plan and follow it. Don’t get in the way of your success. If your goal is to lose weight along the way, don’t grab the delicious brownie at the office potluck however enticing it may be. If one of your goals it to reach a time standard, don’t try to do too much too soon in pursuit of your goal. If your goal is to run or walk every day for a year don’t go through the terrain park while snowboarding when you have no business being there.

 As luck may have it, due to my own doing, I have already ruined one of my goals for 2013, which was to run every day for the year. A lovely snowboarding accident this Monday has interrupted my running almost before it started. I can be very stubborn, which is probably an understatement. Typically, once I set my mind to something I am very reluctant to back off. Thus, I set out for a run on Tuesday when I shouldn’t have. It was the worst two miles of my running career. My neighbors stared at me as I hobbled down the street. Everyone aware of my situation effectively told me I was an idiot for trying to push through the pain. While this is frustrating beyond belief… BEYOND frustrating… I had to be reminded that the smart decision is to take a few days off until I see a doctor and figure out why I can barely walk around the store.  I am clearly in need of adjusting my goals.

 Reality is that many of us will encounter situations that will force us to adjust our goals. That is okay! It will be frustrating, but the quicker you sit back, analyze the situation, and determine the proper course of action the better off you’ll be. Adjust and refocus. You may set a goal that is slightly out of reach only to realize it two months down the road. Be honest with yourself. Tweak your goal a bit. If you shared them with friends or family keep them updated of your progress and any changed goals. You may be surprised how supportive they will be and how much easier it is to adjust your goal rather than simply giving up. Again, be honest with yourself. If you need to make a change to your goals it is okay! If you need to adjust your time goal, mileage goal, weight goal, etc…. do it! Don’t simply give up on your goals. Adjust and refocus.

 My challenge to each of you is to spend an hour and jot down EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to accomplish. Write down EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to change about yourself. Then, put them all in a list. Rearrange the list as many times as you need to. Take that list and pick 3-5 of the most specific, meaningful, and attainable goals. Once you’ve determined what your goals should be share them! Tell your family. Tell your friends. Put them on your bathroom mirror. Post them on your Facebook page. Post them on the telephone pole on your street corner. The point is, do something with them. Hold yourself accountable. Stay out of the way. Enjoy the journey.

 “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

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