Lessons learned from setting goals

Posted on August 25, 2011


set goals for successFirst of all, you have to define what success means to you. You also have to have goals and concrete steps to achieve those goals.

My main focus this summer was to increase my upper body strength so that kayaking would be easier and more enjoyable. Did I succeed? Yes!

Here are the lessons I learned from setting goals this summer:

1. Make your goal achievable.

I personally dislike stretch goals. I always set them too high, end up getting discouraged and giving up. I’m all about setting a reasonable goal. Getting stronger for kayaking was very doable for me.

2. Set intermediate and specific goals.

Okay, getting stronger is somewhat nebulous. My intermediate goals were to:

**paddle for at least 2 hours without getting tired
**gain the ability to lift my kayak to the top of the my car without strain or pain
**gain cardiovascular endurance so that I could paddle longer.

3. Have contingency plans.

Life happens. A badly sprained ankle derailed me for a while. What does an ankle have to do with upper body strength you may wonder. The pain killers I took made me sleepy, plus having to stay off my feet wreaked havoc with my endurance training.

Enter Plan B. I did lots of research and got the okay from my doctor to use homeopathic remedies for my pain. These remedies took away the pain, yet didn’t make me sleepy. I actually had fun designing low impact endurance workouts; I put my all into them, so my cardio fitness didn’t suffer.

4. Carefully think things through.

Doing heavy and intense strength training is an excellent way to build upper body strength. However, this type of training doesn’t fit well with kayaking. Kayaking is intense, so it’s hard to do both without overtraining. I decided instead to do more of lighter weight/endurance workouts. This did the trick for me.

5. Monitor progress and adjust tasks, as needed.

After a two month endurance rotation, I didn’t feel I was building any more strength. As a matter of fact, I felt that I was losing strength, so I knew it was time for something different. I’m now doing a Slow & Heavy weight rotation. This isn’t as intense as my usual training, so I can do it along with kayaking.

6.  Recognize you can’t do it all at once.

Okay, so I should be focusing on my job search.  I’m still doing that, but my focus this summer was on getting fitter and stronger.  Come the fall, I’ll be back to job searching.

What about you?  How do you set goals and measure success?

Goal photo courtesy of Lululemon Athletica’s Flickr Photostream, under Creative Commons licensing.

Posted in: business, life