Goals, what are they good for?

Posted Ella Villas Articles

Do you have a list of goals that you keep track of?

Some people like to keep track of every minute of their day and have so many goals and sub goals and mini-goals that it makes my head spin.

Since I’m not one of those people who have endless lists of goals, I wanted to give you an idea of a way to do your goals so that:

1) They are motivating
2) They are measurable
3) They aren’t several years out

Let’s go through these.

1. Motivating goals. This means when you read them out loud, you almost laugh! In order for your goals to be motivating, they have to really grab you deep down. So for example, “Completing a marathon” may be nice, but how about “Dancing across the finish line as I complete the NYC Marathon”?

2. This may be overstated, but very specific, measurable, and written down goals are going to have a much bigger chance of being completed than general or vague ones.

For example, many people come to Tri Swim Coach and say “I want to get faster!” and this has been their goal for multiple years, but they always feel like a failure, because they never defined what “faster” is! Maybe you’re in the bottom 10% of your age group for swimming in your races.

Great! Next goal would ideally be something like, “Move up to the bottom 20% of my age group”, then find out what kind of times people are doing…and what kind of changes you will have to make (and workouts you can’t afford to miss) to get there.

3. Goals need to be somewhat short-term. Long term goals seem to far away and often get lost or forgotten about. This is somewhat subjective, but generally, it’s ideal to keep goals within 6 months.

“But I want to do an Ironman in 2019!” you may say.


Break that down into chunks. Where do you have to be in 6 months to do that 2019 Ironman?

Then, what do you have to do this month to get to where you need to be in 6 months? This week? Today?

Think 6 months (or less) at a time, and your brain will naturally remain focused on your goals.

And write everything down. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet of monthly, weekly, and daily goals. At the end of each week and month, you can check in to see where you are.

Objective reality is key here- NEVER be tempted to beat yourself up for falling short of one of your sub-goals, but rather, observe and adjust course if necessary.

Always ask yourself, “What went right? What went wrong? How can I improve next month (or next week)?”

So goals are good for a lot, and I hope as we have just entered a new season, that you are keeping on top of yours.

Befriend the water!