Being Realistic in Your Goal Setting

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This past weekend I took the next step in my fitness career by taking the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Coaching Certification Class. This was a very intense two day course covering all aspects on becoming a certified running coach. Let me tell you, I learned so much in those 16 hours that my head is still spinning. Now I have to study so that I can take my exam in the next few weeks. I do have my work cut out for me, but I have confidence in due time I will be a coach.

While I am not going to go into the specifics of the class, I did want to share with you one of the lessons I learned and that was helping a runner set a realistic goal. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have read or talked to new runners who want to go from running 3 miles three times a week to a marathon in less than a year. While many may feel that I do not support these runners by stealing their dreams, in all reality my goal is to help a new runner appreciate the time and effort it takes to become a long distance runner. And most importantly respect the distance of not only running 26.2 miles but training for this distance as well.

When I was getting quite frustrated with my own slow progress three years ago, my running coach once told me, “Nancy, do you want to be a life-long runner or a once in a lifetime runner? It is your choice but if you choose the first option, you will allow time for your body to adapt to the sport of running and you will be a runner. Or if you choose the latter, you will have no choice but to adapt to an injured body and you may have to give up the gift of running altogether.” I guess you can tell which path I took.

These were pretty harsh sentiments at the time when I was expecting to hear words of support and encouragement. But in all honesty, looking back, I am glad he was truthful with me rather than trying to sell me a dream that may have never been fulfilled if I found myself sidelined with an injury. I had to learn to trust his knowledge and expertise. And we do know that one of our biggest de-motivators is setting goals that are unachievable.

Sometimes we need an outsider’s view to set us in the right direction when we can’t ‘see the forest through the trees’, so to speak. This doesn’t mean we can’t shoot for the stars, but know that the moon many times may get in the way, but WOW what a view of the Earth you will see. I have learned to TRUST THE PROCESS, which has become my mantra on this journey. But we should all know that in due time we can meet many of our goals, sometimes we just have to be willing to have others help us along the way.

Has anyone ever told you that your goal(s) were unrealistic and if so, how did you respond? Have you ever set a goal only to realize yourself that it was unrealistic? Do you trust others in helping you meet your goals?

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