How to set a goal

I saw this quote on Pinterest the other day and it really got me thinking.

I am super-goal oriented.  I have goals in most areas of my life: school, home, work, running, etc.  And once I set a goal, I get pretty focused on achieving that goal.  I’m not afraid to work hard to see a goal reached.

Lately, I’ve set some pretty important running goals.  I really wanted to run a half marathon in under two hours.  I worked hard all winter.  I figured out what pace I would need to run to reach my goal and then I devised a plan to get there.  I did tempo runs.  I did interval training.  I did long runs.  I scheduled babysitters to watch the boys so that I could get a run in.

And then race day came.  I was nervous but I tried to focus on the fact that I had put in the work and prepared myself to achieve my goal.  And I did!

And it was awesome!  I felt like I had proven to myself that I could work hard and make a goal a reality.  I had a few more races after that where I set lesser time goals and I ended up blowing past them.

So that brings me back to the first quote.  That quote makes me wonder if I am setting my goals high enough.  Goals should be a challenge to reach.  I keep reaching mine.  That isn’t saying that I’m not working hard.  I busted my butt to get my sub-2:00 half marathon.  But, I reached my goal the first time I tried.

I think of my friends who have a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  Some of them have been working toward that goal for years.  They train and train and train and then race day comes and they come up just short.  Or they end up over-trained or injured.  Or the weather is too hot or too cold or too something.  And they don’t reach their goal.  And they try again.  And again.  And again.  And I know they are working hard.  I see them putting forth the effort each and every day.

Maybe my goals aren’t quite ambitious enough.  I have no goal to qualify for Boston.  I know that I am nowhere close to that and it really isn’t even on my bucket list.  But, what could I do if I really set a lofty goal?  If I made my goal ‘out of reach, but not out of sight?’ 

What if I had a goal that was really out there?  What if I set a goal that I didn’t think I could reach?  Would I work hard and try to get there anyway?  Would I give up if I didn’t think I could get there?

I’ve often said that I am addicted to setting goals.  I’m not entirely sure that is true.  I think I might be addicted to reaching my goals.  What would happen if I didn’t reach a goal?

Honestly, I’m not sure I know the answer to that.  Maybe I am afraid to fail.  Maybe I am afraid to try really hard at something and not succeed.  Maybe I’m not willing try that hard. 

I need to do some more thinking and soul-searching on this one.  It is entirely possible that I need to come up with an out of reach goal.

What do you think?

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