Toward the end of every year I like to reflect on what I have accomplished over the past 12 months.  After reviewing everything I ask myself: Did I accomplish everything I hoped for this year?  Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no.  For the goals I did not accomplish was it because I lost sight of my clear vision or were there extenuating circumstances preventing me from achieving my goals.  If I have lost sight of my vision than I have to give my head a shake and refocus on what it is that I find important to me and want I really want to accomplish during the year and in the future.  If it was the latter then I have to figure out what I need to do to push forward past the obstacles.  For example, in 2012 one of my running goals included achieving a PB in a marathon that I had registered for, beating my previous PB by 10 minutes.  May seem aggressive to some, but I knew it was attainable and I was on track to achieving it.  I never actually did because I was sidelined by an injury from a minor accident which was aggravated during training and prevented me from putting in the mileage and speed needed to achieve this goal.  After months of therapy I am almost back on track and now I am re-evaluating my running goals for 2013.

Call it a New Years Resolution, a goal, or a dream, they are necessary for our success and to achieve the vision we create for ourselves.  At all of the major jobs that I have held it was required by my employers to set objectives for the year, both for my professional development and for that of the team, which all were in line with company objectives and supported the company's vision.  So I’m going to assume that this is probably not new information for the majority of you.  But maybe it is for some.  If we are required by our employers to set personal development goals that support the goals of the company, why don’t more of us set them in our personal lives?  Being busy mothers and caregivers we sometimes feel guilty when we take time out for ourselves, time that we think we should be spending with our families.  But we would all benefit if we took the time to create a clear vision for ourselves and set goals that can help us achieve it.  This is one of the best things we can show our children, an invaluable skill that will help them throughout their lives.  It shows our children that they can achieve anything they want and it helps set them up with the tools to get there.

As January approaches I start to make a list of goals that I’d like to achieve for the next year and revisit my long term vision.  I highly recommend everyone do this as there is a great sense of accomplishment and purpose when you do achieve them.  You can set goals for personal health, your finances, career, basically in any area that is important to you.  You can do this by writing them down in a numbered list, make a poster or vision board with words or pictures, or by creating a movie that you can view everyday.  In addition to writing everything down on paper I use the vision board which is great because you can put it in a location that you pass by everyday and it gives you that visual which some of us need.  This helps us become accountable for the tasks that we set before us to reach our goals for the year and our long term dreams.

I find the simplest way to set a goal is to use the S.M.A.R.T. concept which has become popular since its introduction in the early ‘80’s.  There are variations to the original S.M.A.R.T. definition, but I just go with:
Time based

A very simple running goal might be:
Set a PB in the Chilly Half Marathon held on March 3, 2013 finishing with a time under 1:49.
Is it specific?  It’s specific enough for me.
Is it measurable?  Of course, it will be a timed race.
Is it achievable?  You bet since I’ve been putting in the mileage and times required to finish around that time.
Is it Realistic?  I believe it is.
Is it time based?  Yes since the race is held on a specific date and it is a timed race.

If your goal is simply to run a half marathon and you have never run before, then you will need to sit down and figure out a few more details on how you will do that.  Your personal goals are just that, your personal goals.  You don’t answer to anyone but yourself.  Once you have your goals set your next step is to figure out how you will achieve them.  For this example your next steps might be to select a specific training program to follow, figure out if you need to revamp your diet or sleep habits, or decide if you may benefit from a running partner or run club for motivation.

Now get to it and start setting your goals for 2013!
Good luck!

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