Goal Setting as a Motivator

One of the many reasons I’ve been loving the blogging world now that I’m running is because it has allowed me to connect with other runners of all levels.  Not only is it motivational to follow others’ stories, but its also been a forum through which to exchange training ideas.  Last week on Facebook I saw that Heather at Through Heather’s Looking Glass was looking for some guest bloggers for this week while she’s at Disney World, and after an e-mail exchange with her decided to write about goal setting and motivation.  Because I want to make sure that my blog serves as a true diary of my running journey, I felt it essential to include my post here on my blog as well.  You can see the original post on her blog from yesterday here.  (Please note, I wrote this post late last week, so my reference to the Biggest Loser 10K was prior to my running it.  I promise a full recap is coming soon!)

premarathon

Hi!  My name is Kathryn and I blog at From Dancing to Running.  I’m currently training for my first half marathon.  I’m a lifelong dancer slowly evolving into a runner, and have been working on this transition since March.  It was then that I was inspired by my husband who completed his first marathon at Disney World back in January to sign up for the Disney World Half Marathon this coming January.  And while my family thought I was crazy to sign up for my first half (as well as the 10K – have to get that new Minnie Mouse themed medal!), they think he’s even crazier to have signed up for the Dopey Challenge!

What prompted both of us to sign up for all of these races?  We both wanted to set a goal for ourselves and prove that we can do whatever we put our minds to.  I have two younger sisters, and of the three of us I’ve always been the dancer and the two of them have always been the runners.  They both ran Cross Country in high school, where as I was a part of a dance company as well as our high school’s Dance Team, dancing up to seven days a week.  My mom’s jaw dropped when she heard of my newfound goal, but her reaction as well as the reaction from others is fueling my motivation even more to do whatever it takes to prepare myself for Disney World in January.

By day for ten months out of the year, I teach high school Social Studies.  I frequently tell my students that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to, no matter how daunting or challenging the task may seem.  I took the plunge and set a long term goal for myself: to train and prepare to run the 10K and half marathon during Marathon Weekend, and know that since I’ve put my mind to completing these races that I’ll do whatever it takes to not only complete these races but also lead by example to my students.

So I set this goal for myself and started training.  My training has focused on a combination of running, walking, cross training on the elliptical, and weight training.  When I first started out, I just went to the gym or went outside on one of our local trails and worked out.  I didn’t know for how long or how far I’d be going, I just went through the motions.  I quickly realized though that working out without an immediate goal or plan wasn’t going to keep me motivated, and I quickly turned to short term goal setting.  Currently, I’m focused on completing 100 training miles in seven weeks.  I’ve already completed another 100 miles in seven weeks, and I’d like to see myself do this again, despite being on vacation for two of these weeks.  I don’t want to use being out of town as an excuse.  I’ve also been focused on preparing for my first 10K, the Biggest Loser 10K.

As I’ve set each short term goal, I’ve focused on making sure that my goals are both challenging but also realistic and attainable.  Will I meet 100% of the goals that I set for myself?  Likely not, or else I’m probably setting too low of a bar for myself.  As Bruce Lee once said, “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

brucelee

I truly believe in Lee’s words.  If I didn’t have any goals, whether short or long term, it would be difficult to find the motivation to train.  Instead, I have my long term goal – to run my first half marathon – driving my training overall and helping to shape all of the interwoven short term goals that keep my training more focused.  All of these goals are helping keep me motivated as I keep my eye on the prize – crossing the finish line at Disney World in six months.

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3 Responses to Goal Setting as a Motivator

  1. katyhancock says:

    Great insights! I swear I made 5 goals a day I believe in them so much haha

  2. Pingback: Ten Commandments of Running | From Dancing to Running

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