How to set goals for the new year

Ian Field

The start of a new year is a great time to write down some goals and determine a plan to help you achieve them. Gold Ambassador Ian Field is here to give you a kick-start.

I’m coming to the end of my racing calendar and it’s the point where I have to reflect on the last few months and make a plan for the 2019 season. With any sort of goal-setting, I always recommend following the SMART principle: 

S: SPECIFIC – The more you know about your goal, the easier it will be to achieve. Break it down and answer all of the “Who, What, Why, Where, When?” questions which apply. For example, you could say “I want to finish Folkestone Parkrun in less than 30 minutes by July 2019”. 

M: MEASURABLE – For a goal to be measurable, it will be clear when you have achieved it. “Being healthier” isn’t a measurable goal but reducing your blood-pressure levels or increasing your daily vegetable intake is! 

A: ACHIEVABLE – This is an important one to avoid disappointment or failure. Make sure that your goal is possible and realistic. If you’re tackling your first 100-mile bike ride, it might not seem achievable to simply say “I’m going to ride 100 miles”. However, you could set smaller, more achievable goals to help you reach this point. For example, this could be “I’m going to ride for four hours every week” or “I’d like to ride 25 miles by March, 50 miles by June, 75 miles by September and 100 miles before the end of the year”. 

R: RELEVANT – A relevant goal will keep you motivated. There’s no point saying you’ll run the marathon if you hate running! A goal which isn’t relevant is less likely to be achieved. You should also make sure that your goals are relevant to you and what you hope to achieve this year. For example, when I have a race coming up which includes lots of running, I set the goal of running twice a week and I aim to run a sub-20 5k. 

T: TIMELY – Put a time-frame on each of your goals. This will keep you motivated and focussed and help you to plan. 

Setting goals can be the first step for anybody, from beginners to elite athletes. It’s a great way to kick-start your year and get excited for all that you are capable of achieving. My final top tip will be to keep things fun and love what you do. Good luck and a happy new year to you all! 

Thank you, Ian! If you’ve set your goals but you’re not sure how to stay motivated, we have a great blog from Dan Hulme coming up. We’d love to hear about any goals you have set for the new year. Talk to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or use the hashtag #shepwaysportstrust to join the conversation.