Setting Personal Goals and Objectives

I’ve been challenged by my brother to do an Ironman 70.3 next summer. While I’m in reasonable shape I haven’t really done any endurance training, especially running, since my military service 12 years ago. For me, this is quite a challenge but it could also be the perfect trigger for me. Ever since that time I’ve held an inner wish to really get into shape. I want to be able to do all the things we did in service but have a smile on my face and enjoy the experience and nature around me, and this is just the right challenge for me to do something about it.

Coincidentally a new performance year is just starting at work and that’s made me think about if I can approach this challenge and my own personal goals based on how I coach my team leads and the other people on the project. While we use S.M.A.R.T. objectives I like to start with a slightly wider perspective:

  • Personal objectives should align with the strategic goals of the project or company
  • A reviewer aids in setting them and helps keep track of progress
  • Objectives should be challenging and broken down into milestones

In the corporate world, we set objectives that align with the strategic goals of the company or project. This way we can make sure that our employees grow with the needs of the company and not on some other tangent. Ideally these objectives are also in line with the persons own goals so that they get ownership over them, otherwise the whole exercise is kind of wasted. So the first step is to find your long term goals. Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years? How is your life different from now?

When you know what you want to achieve, specific goals are set and these are discussed with someone you trust. Whether it’s your spouse, a training partner or good friend, this person will help you formulate the goals and keep track of them. It’s someone you’re accountable to so that your goals are not quietly forgotten.

Goals should also be challenging but within reach. Once specific goals are formulated they can be broken down into milestones and a plan to reach those milestones can be created. Frequent reviews of the milestones and goals are necessary; both to remind you of the goals, see progress and adjust the plan but it’s equally important to adjust the goals. If your personal situation change or you find new long term goals it doesn’t mean that you should pursue objectives that doesn’t make sense, instead they should be adjusted so that they are still relevant. Equally important is that if you are beating your goals half-way into the objective period you should aim higher and adjust accordingly.

So, instead of just coming up with a plan that’ll get me through the race I’ve decided to take a step back and figure out what it really is that I want with my physique. It will certainly be a challenge since I want to build muscle mass, lean out and build the endurance needed at the same time, but I think it can be done. With the goals set and a plan worked out it’s time to start executing it. See you in the gym and on the trails.