Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Setting Goals

I wrote briefly yesterday about thinking ahead to next season and that I had a new set of goals.  My 2014 season was successful and I owe that to being consistent with my training and trusting my plan.  Now that I have laid a good foundation, it's time to build on that and improve.  When planning things out, I looked at my performances from this year to see what I want to improve on.  After some soul searching, I wrote up some goals.

Goal writing is nothing new for me.  I do this on a daily basis for my job as a PT, but it's for other people.  When a patient comes into my office for an evaluation, I have to diagnose the problem, identify impairments, create a 'problem list', and then write goals.  The goals I write need to be measurable and specific for that patient.  We follow a format of "ABCDE":
  • Audience - who is expected to change
  • Behavior - what behavior changes or results are expected
  • Condition - under what circumstance will the result be accomplished
  • Degree - how much change will occur
  • Evidence - how will the change be measured (outcome measures)
Insurance companies look for these when I submit my evaluations.  I need to be realistic when I write these up.  Insurance companies have a general idea how long the rehab process takes for certain injuries.  If a patient takes longer, they will question my effectiveness as a therapist. As you can see, goals need to be very specific.  Generalizations just won't work.

When it comes to my training, I try to be specific as well.  Very basic goals just won't work.  There's another pneumonic used to help with this goal writing: "SMART"
  • S - specific/significant
  • M - measurable/meaningful
  • A - attainable
  • R - relevant/rewarding
  • T - time bound/trackable 

I set short, medium and long term goals.  A short term goal might be on a week by week basis.  I review my workouts for the week and set a goal based on that.  I use a medium term goal that might be based on a month-long training cycle.  Long term might be a goal that I am working towards over a season or a long training cycle leading into a 'A' race.

I also need to be mindful about what is realistic.  I won't set a goal like "Finish an Ironman in 10 hours" when my last one was over 14 hours.  I look at my previous times and if I am racing a similar course (or an easier course), then I figure for maybe a 5-8% change. I have to look at my previous times when figuring all this out.

My goals for this year are based on racing times and power goals (cycling).  I also get an objective opinion on my goals as well.  It's important to have a detailed conversation with my coach to get her input on what I hope to achieve.  She will come up with the details to help me achieve my goals.  With each workout, we analyze the data and see if I am on target to making my goals. 

It's important to write your goals down.  I keep a copy on my nightstand or on my phone so I see it every day and am reminded about what I want to accomplish.  What are your goals for next year?