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Are you wishing you could find a new job or start your own business or drop ten pounds? Don’t waste your time wishing for what you want set a concrete goal. Preferably, a SMART. goal. But remember: goals need follow through.
For close to a year, I was thinking about running. I liked the idea of an exercise regimen that would allow me to expend the most calories in the least amount of time. Also, it would be easy to get started, particularly since my gym is less than ten minutes away. I read about running online, even started picking up copies of Runner’s World magazine. But, I wasn’t running or even walking.
So I signed up for a 5K road race. Found a charity run supporting one of my favorite causes: our four-legged companions. Proceeds from the 5K would go toward creating a dog park in a neighboring town. Nothing like the idea of having to run, or do some combination of running/walking, for three plus miles in just six weeks to make me get off the couch.
Now instead of thinking about how I should start running I had a goal. To keep myself accountable I told my all of my friends right away. I posted my training updates on Facebook. And my friends began cheering me on. Two of them actually signed up for the race which was pretty incredible. It also made it impossible for me to back out.
Creating the training plan was the easy part. Running is so popular there are plenty of training programs online including the popular Couch to 5K by Cool Running which turns couch potatoes in to runners in just a few weeks. I invested a couple of bucks in the app for my phone which made training at the gym much easier. Instead of having to watch the treadmill timer I had the app to tell me when to walk and when to start running. Now it was up to me.
This is where most of us get stuck. We finally figure out what we want to do, we spend time creating our plan but we fail to follow through. We’re tired. We’re busy. Life just gets in the way. But there are three things that can make all the difference.
Commitment is the fuel in any journey. Once you have a plan it place make sure you stick to it. If part of your plan includes attending two networking events a month put them in your calendar and treat them like a meeting with your boss. Don’t make excuses for why you’re not revamping your resume or researching companies where you want to work.
After commitment, there’s nothing better than accountability to keep you on track. That’s part of why working with a coach or a trainer is so helpful. They keep you accountable. Once your goal is set tell your friends and family, immediately. It will give you an extra incentive to keep going. Let people know how things are going. Pretty soon folks will be watching for your Facebook posts.
The value of a support system is immeasurable. That’s one of the wonderful things about social media. When you’re working toward a goal your Facebook friends will cheer you on. When things go well they’ll congratulate you. When you hit a bump they’ll encourage you. While a hug from a loved one may be the best medicine, comments on your Facebook post is pretty cool.
Working toward a goal isn’t easy particularly if it involves stepping outside your comfort zone. There were many days that I got busy and times when I simply didn’t feel like training. But, usually I went to the gym anyway. About the time I was scheduled to start running outside the weather turned hot and humid. Not good conditions for anyone especially a newbie.
Finally, it was race day. Despite threats of rain, it was hot and muggy. As we drove to the event I was getting nervous. But, standing at the start with my buddies my fears were replaced with excitement. Finally, the gun fired and we were off.
I wish I could say that it was smooth sailing. It wasn’t. The heat was oppressive and I felt like I was going to pass out. As I watched most of the other runners surge forward leaving me behind I wondered why I decided to do this in the first place. And that was in the first half-mile. But, I didn’t give up. I ran a little and walked a lot. Volunteers cheering us on and handing out water helped. Reaching the mile markers helped too. And a few yards from the finish line one of my friends, who’s an avid runner, came back out on the course and ran the rest of the way in with me. What a friend.
Running across the finish line was awesome. I looked pretty awful, but I felt ecstatic. I completed my first 5K in 41.26 which all things considered wasn’t half bad. The best part was how proud I was, how proud I am for reaching my goal. Once I had my plan in place all I needed was commitment, accountability and a little help from my friends. That’s all you need too.
Want a step-by-step guide for developing your Goals? Download Stop Dreaming & Start Doing: A Practical Guide for Getting What You Want With SMART Goals from amazon.com today.