Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The purpose of a goal

I have always been a goal setter. I want to complete a certain task by a certain time, or get to a place by a certain time, or make enough money to do stuff....ect. What I have found is that the goals I set are flexible. They seem to move to wherever I am at that point in time. For example, I have had a goal of losing weight for many years. I would lose a little and progress towards my goal only to lose focus and gain weight back. Progress comes in small steps for me. I am finally refocused on my weight loss and it is showing. I have lost about 20 pounds and I am much stronger from cycling. Which leads me to the point.....or the purpose of this post.

A goal should have strict guidelines. They are as follows:

1. Set a goal
2. Make sure the goal is within reach
3. Never change the level of the goal if you are not reaching it....make a different goal

So...basic....right? Well, I have found that if a goal flexes down to an attainable level it was set too high. At the Yankee Springs Time Trial I set a goal of 1 hour and 15 minutes for my race time. I have never been within 5 minutes of that time and I figured in the race I would push myself harder to ensure I met the goal....which I did. The goal was just on the edge of being out of reach. 1 hour 10 minutes was too steep, so I took the low road (which was still faster) and hit it on the head.

Now I am looking at the Fort Custer XC in a week and a half and wondering what I should set my goal time at. Last year I have no comparison because I took a DFL after going flat 3 times. I can compare my times from this year on the Red loop (which is most of the race course) and get a decent idea of where my times will be. The problem I have is how low do I set the goal. I want to hit it, but not be disappointed by a low finish....and I don't want to miss it and be disappointed by a SLOW finish. So....hmm.

My goal for Fort Custer XC is to finish in the top 5 with a time of 0:50:00. Do you think I can hit it? I do....

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