We made it through another great year and 2016 is here. I promised that we would check in throughout the year, attempting to stay on track for Summer Nationals in August; this should be on everyone’s radar since your Oregon LMSC is hosting the meet at the Mt Hood Aquatic Center. It is not too early to start setting goals for this event. The earlier you start, and the more time you put into working towards your goals, the easier they will be to achieve. I originally wrote the article below for the February, 2013, Aqua Master and have updated the details for today. There is no time like the present to revisit goal setting so that you can apply this process immediately as you are thinking about what you want to achieve in 2016.
The New Year is a new beginning, a time for reflection, and a great time to rethink your goals for the coming year and beyond. Instead of following the crowd and making up random resolutions, I would suggest taking the time to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
The first known use of the S.M.A.R.T. mnemonic occurred in 1981 in an issue of Management Review in an article written by George T. Doran, but these criteria don’t only apply to the business world, they can be used in goal setting for all aspects of your life. S.M.A.R.T. stands for the following:
Your goals should be Specific. It is much harder to achieve a generic goal. For instance, it’s tough to decide exactly how you are going to “get in shape” without answering the six “W’s” first. When you nail down the Who, What, Where, When, Which and Why of your goals they are more defined, and a well defined goal is easier to measure.
When your goals are Measurable, you can track your own progress and are much more likely to achieve success. A measurable goal should answer how much, how many, and how you’ll know when you have attained your goal.
Goals should be Attainable because unrealistic aspirations can lead to feelings of failure. With that being said, don’t be afraid to set your goals high, but plan wisely. A goal that is too far out of reach, or far too easy to achieve, loses its meaning. If you find your goal is no longer important to you, you should set a new one.
A Relevant goal is one you find importance in striving for. It should be worth your while and motivating. Something you are willing and able to work hard for. It may not always be easy. You may have a set-back or lose focus, but if your goal matters to you, you’ll find a way to recover and keep pushing onward.
A Timely goal has a finish line; a set place in time by which you strive to achieve your goal. Whether it is a short term or long term goal, the clock is ticking, so you better get started!
I hope you enjoy setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself. If you need some assistance tracking your fitness goals, I highly suggest joining the “Go The Distance” program on the USMS website, or starting your own “FLOG”. Located under the “Learn to Swim & Fitness” tab, select “Fitness Logs”. Here you will find information about how to join these free programs. They can help you track how often, and how much you swim and participate in many other physical activities like running or weight lifting, just to name a few. You can even set a goal to swim a certain distance in miles, yards or meters and the site can help you stay on track to achieve your goal by the end of the year; the site will tell you if you are staying ahead or falling behind. If you’re not the technology type, a regular calendar works just fine for tracking your progress. Regardless, it will feel good to see how far you’ve come, and how close you are to achieving your goals.