Two weeks ago (not sure what happened to last week), we talked about goal setting and using “SMART” criteria to establish goals. I left you with the idea that reaching your goals takes planning for the process of doing, training, conditioning or learning that will make achieving the big goals easier.
I just started volunteering as a coach for a running program for elementary and middle school boys called Let Me Run. It’s like Girls on the Run just for boys. The mission of the program is to “inspire boys through the power of running to be courageous enough to be themselves, to build healthy relationships, and to live an active life style.” The goal is to complete a 5k on May 13th. The program meets two times a week and there is a theme for each session that includes a discussion of “words to live by”that helps illustrate the theme. This week was about goal setting and the words to live by were “a goal without a plan is just a dream.” The boys, ranging in age from 10-12, were quick to point out that achieving a goal requires action, and it was difficult to act without a plan.
After we completed our running for the day – 25 minutes of running with walking breaks this week – we went inside for our lesson on goal setting. Here we used the mnemonic acronym R.A.C.E instead of S.M.A.R.T (maybe because it fits better with a running program, or maybe because it’s simpler); Realistic, Action, Commitment, Evaluation. I like that it focuses on goal setting as a process that requires action. The boys were all asked to come up with two personal goals, a running goal and something else, and to make a specific plan of action for each.
An action plan for running goals is easy. For the boys, there is this program that will take them week by week through training and conditioning that is designed to have them ready to complete the 5k. For you, there are a whole host of published training plans that will meet your needs depending on your fitness level and race goal. I wrote about planning for running goals back in January. As I discussed earlier this month, tackling other personal goals will take some more effort in planning, but the model used to develop training plans is a good place to start. Break the big goal down into little goals, and then determine the tasks that need to be completed to achieve the smaller goals. It’s simple really. And it’s a process that we are all aware of. So why can we still fail to achieve our goals when we so diligently create an action plan. Perhaps because we are completely focused on the action – on doing – that we over look the “being.” In other words in order to “do” something, we need to “be” something. We need to be in the moment. This is what “co-active” coaching is all about. In order to live the best life we want to live, we not only have to be focused on doing, but on being.
Creating an action plan is only part of the process toward reaching a goal. As a coach I assist clients in determining who they want to be. Who are you when you are at your best? What have you been when you have achieved your goals in the past? Courageous? Thoughtful? Organized? Disciplined? Engaged? Efficient? Humble?
Once you have chosen a goal that resonates with you, then make a list of what you need to do to achieve that goal. And prioritize. What should be done first? What comes next? But before you act ask yourself what and who do I need to be in order to act? Curious? Enthusiastic? Caring? Generous? Empathetic? Trustworthy? Present?
At the conclusion of our Let Me Run workout sessions we huddle up and shout the mantra “Let me be me! Let me reach out! Let me run!” Let me be me. Yes, be yourself. Be who you are at your absolute best. That’s how you work your plan. That’s how you reach your goals.