Jon O'Hanlon: How Setting Goals Will Change Your Run

Previously, I spoke about applying your mind to your run to identify if your run has a general or specific focus. If your focus is specific, then setting clear and achievable goals can be a hugely useful tool.

Set SMART goals.

Your goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, which you alone are Responsible for achieving, with a set Timeframe to achieve it in.

Take it one step further with SMERTIE.

The first four letters are pretty similar to SMART, but SMERTIE goes one step further and adds in emotions and feelings: Inspired and Emotion. How inspired do you feel by the thought of achieving this goal? What emotions does this evoke? If the thought of achieving this goal does not inspire you by a factor of greater than 7/10, then it is unlikely that you will put in the time and effort. Similarly, you are unlikely to achieve this goal if it doesn’t fill you with positive emotions such as joy, pride or sense of achievement.

Goal setting

Ensure that you define your goal statement correctly.

A goal statement can only be singular and cannot include either of the words “and” or “or”. The goal statement for our example is: “To Make Tea”.  Jot down a list of all the items that you will need to have in order to make tea. In going through this list of items, I suddenly realise that I am making tea for the Queen. This shows me that my goal statement is not correct - it is not Specific enough. If it had been then I would have known that I should scrap the idea of a mug, I need a cup and saucer, and the same for the teabag, I need tea leaves. A more correct Goal Statement would have been: Make Tea For The Queen.

Stop activities which have no direct impact on achieving your goal.

All tasks you spend energy doing should fit the purpose of your goal. A simple way to do this is to ask yourself ‘so that’. For example, ‘I am doing this activity so that I can achieve my goal statement’. 

Relating this back to our goal statement of Making Tea, we can use the example of ‘I am buying biscuits so that I can make tea.’ NO, you do not need biscuits in order to make tea. You are engaging in an activity and wasting time, energy and money doing something that has no direct impact on achieving your goal. Stop this activity immediately. 

Jon O'Hanlon

In the next blog, I will be talking through my Exercise Sphere that I use when coaching professional athletes.

About the author: Jon O’Hanlon was the first person to run across Africa (raising awareness and funds for elephant conservation and water sustainability) and is a mental wellness training coach and motivational speaker. Read Jon's blog 'Switching your mind from automatic to manual' here

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