Have you set large, ambitious goals for yourself only to become discouraged by your lack of progress?
Whether you’ve set your eyes on riding a century, running the Boston Marathon, or competing in your first triathlon, starting a journey toward these ambitious goals is exciting.
As an ambitious, driven athlete, you’re putting in the hard work and you’re making progress and then…
You’re falling short of your milestones and you’re ready to give up.
You’ll learn one small, simple change you can use today that’ll increase your chances of success. And, you’ll be more motivated to work toward your long-term goals.
Why your goal setting isn’t working right now
So why does this happen?
It’s a good bet that you’ve set an all-or-nothing number – the number you have to hit – or your entire training plan is a failure.
Let’s say that you planned to ride 100 miles this week, but could only fit in 75 miles. By your standards, you didn’t reach your weekly goal and while you might get a little down, you keep going. But when this trend continues, you face more frustration and disappointment.
The tricky part is finding the balance between what you can do somewhat easily and stretching yourself.
You want to feel challenged and accomplished once you’ve reached your goal, but your goal can’t be unattainable.
Fortunately, there’s a fix for this.
Your goal can be set as either a single number or as a range.
For example, you may tell yourself that you’ll run 25 miles a week. No more and no less.
Or, you can set a goal to run between 20 and 30 miles a week.
The one change to your goal setting strategy is this: you must set a range for your goal. 1
Here’s why this goal setting tweak works.
When you set a goal range, the lower number – 20 miles a week – is the least amount of miles you expect to run. It’s what you’ve done before and could easily do again.
The high end of this range – 30 miles a week – is slightly out of your comfort zone and you’ll have to work harder to achieve it.
Your motivation spikes when setting a goal range because you have a sense of progress when you focus on what you’ve done (you know you can run 20 miles a week) and what you still need to do (run 30 miles a week).
It’s hard to strike a balance with a single number goal because you must choose between one that’s either doable or challenging.
Choose a goal that’s too easy and you’ll face boredom.
Choose a goal that’s too difficult and you’ll face frustration.
Eventually, you might just give up on your goal altogether.
The key goal setting takeaway is this: You must feel challenged in pursuit of your goal, but only if you think you can reach it.
Goal setting bottom line?
It’s better to set a range than a precise number.
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