Most people in life want to achieve something usually in order to attain a better life and social standing. People would like a better job, more money, bigger house and so on. As runners our usual common aims are to run further or faster but rarely with any of these things we would like to attain or achieve do we sit down and consciously write down the goal. Of the minority of people who do write down goals the majority of them fail to succeed in reaching that goal. Goals are usually, what do you want to be or want do you want to do goals. You may just want to be healthier or you may want to do a 10k, either way there are traps that need to be avoided if you want to succeed.
Fear of failure
A lot of people are afraid they will fail. They place far too higher standards for themselves and anything less than perfection is failure. They feel that anything less than their best will garner criticism and ridicule. It is fine to want to do well but be realistic with what can be achieved. As long as you gave your best at any given moment you have succeeded where others continue to fail. set smaller targets for speed or distance and every time you fail to make those gains don’t view it as a negative failure but as an opportunity to be stronger and come back another day and to try again. Believe in yourself and our abilities and the improvements will slowly but surely begin to follow.
Lack of motivation
Many people are happy with their lot in life, where they are and what they have. If you are happy and gain pleasure from going out for a gentle jog that may be all you want to do. To achieve something more there has to be a pay off which usually comes in the form of pleasure, enjoyment or pride. Let that goal fill you with thoughts of what it would be like to reach that point of running that 10k or getting through that marathon. Feel those feelings and let that help motivate you toward your goal. In moments when motivation seems to evade me watching running films or reading running books helps bring back that amazement of achieving a goal and helps restore my own motivation.
Some people lack confidence in their abilities and as such can be prone to self sabotage. They don’t believe they are worthy of reaching a set goal and as such may neglect important parts of a training regime. As a race day approaches they may pull out all together because they know they haven’t put in the training, start and not finish or start and struggle badly to the end. Then be very self critical at the end of it all and enter a vicious cycle. Joining a club or running with others of similar ability is a great way to get support and encouragement and give a real boost to self confidence which is key to goal attainment.
Some people go over every fine detail about a set goal and the proceed to worry if one of those variables should change along the way. No matter how well you train you will never have all of the answers to the what ifs that spin around your head. All that is important is that you keep working toward your goal but accept you cannot know all the answers during the journey only after at the finish will you know where future improvements lie.
Failing to plan
Maybe the most basic necessity of reaching a goal is having a clearly laid out plan. After all the old adage goes “failing to plan is planning to fail.”. Whatever your goal, having a written timetable of what needs to be done so you can incrementally work towards it will help take a lot of the worry out of reaching the end goal. If a session is missed don’t worry either pick up where you left off or, if it’s not too demanding, try and pick up the schedule from where you should be. Either way having that plan is going to take away the guess work of what needs to be done.
Having your goal and sitting down to write your plan is great. Now you need to act upon it, sometimes the hardest part of any run is getting out of the door. Realise that more action in line with your plan will bring you toward your goal quicker, make it far more attainable and feel easier on the day.
Too many goals
Have you set too many goals and left yourself with too little time to realistically achieve them all? Short list one goal you are focused on and put your efforts in to working toward that alone. It is not to say ignore all the other goals but just to focus on one at a time. choose a goal that you feel is most attainable, tick that off and then move on to the next goal.
Lack of commitment
People can list various goals in their life but without true commitment they are rarely gained. A goal needs to be given your full effort if you want to make it succeed. As we find in life, the more you put in the more you will get out. Don’t be afraid of discomfort, tiredness or the need to go from running to walking mid way through a session. Commit to getting out the door and covering your planned distance, run, walk or crawl and over time you will notice improvement because of your commitment to the end goal.
Always remember you can achieve any goal you set yourself. Use the naysayers as fuel for your fire, commit and never give up, run, walk or crawl to the end goal! Take into account the above and incrementally you can work toward your goal. Be patient, work hard and it will happen.