As we’ve progressed to this point, we have looked at what you think you want to achieve, how to identify what you actually want and how to look at motivational factors to help you achieve it.
Today, we’re going to look at tools to really bring your goal in to focus and how to develop a pathway to achieving it. We’re going to begin formalising your goal by running through a confirmation checklist – The SMART Objective.
Specific. The goal must be framed positively and very clearly. “I WILL” vs “I’m not going to….”. It must have the “why” attached. Ie; the reason you’ve picked this goal, your ultimate end state. You might have multiple mini – goals all moving you to a new place.
Measurable. The goal must be quantifiably measurable. It’s about the numbers, people.
Achievable. We’ll cover how you can assess how achievable your goal is in a moment with the GROW model. However, even at this stage you need to start breaking down your goal in to achievable, bite-sized chunks in your mind.
Realistic. Are you really swimming the English Channel in 6 months time, having never attempted an open water swim and not even been in the pool for 2 years?
Time-bound. There must be an end date. You are aiming towards something and the finish line must get closer with each passing moment.
“I WILL cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End on Sept 30th in order to raise £5000 for charity.”
(I’m not actually doing that again, I’ve just picked a random example from my past)
With the goal firmed up, we now need to look at a development pathway. You’re not suddenly going to cycle 901 miles (the route we took) in 3.5 months time if you’ve not been on a bike in years. Do you even have a bike? So we look at positives and negatives in your view that can help or hinder you.
Strengths. What do you have in your arsenal that you can call on to achieve this goal? Perhaps you are naturally a determined person. Maybe, you always achieve your goals? You never let your mates down? You have always been fit? You might not have cycled in a while but you’ve been swimming a lot? Do you have a top of the range bike to get you over those Cornish hills (far worse than in Scotland). You know the route, having been on the support team for another team? Will a local business sponsor you? Draw on whatever you can that will directly transpose in to an asset for this task.
Weaknesses. Be honest now.You need to consider weaknesses that will then be addressed later on when you set up your development pathway. Are you a little less fit than you thought you were? Have you got a previous injury that will need to be looked at? Do you have a habit of starting tasks and then dropping out through lack of willpower? Do you have the confidence to request sponsorship?
Opportunities. Where Strengths and Weaknesses are INTERNAL to you, Opportunities and Threats are EXTERNAL factors. Do you have a free week coming up that you can exploit for extra training? Perhaps you know someone who lives on part of the route and you can get up there to train and orientate yourself to the ground? Does a friend have a great bike they’d willingly lend you?
Threats. Maybe you’ve only got a few hours a week and can’t make all the proposed training rides.Do you even own a bike? Will your wife get upset with you being away (resulting in you having to put the time in before and after!). Is there a family birthday / anniversary coming up that you need to plan for?
While SWOT is a great tool, we can now break the Goal down even further through use of the GROW model. Here, we will look at the goal, how far you are away from it (in achievement terms), all of the possible options available to you to succeeding and then finally what you actually have the will to do.
Goal. Reiterate your SMART goal.
Reality. Taking your strengths and weaknesses from the SWOT analysis, how far away from being able to achieve the goal are you already? Do you already cycle long distances, albeit with a week or so rest in between? Perhaps riding a few miles is actually more than you can do at this stage (which we should have identified back up in the “Realistic” portion of the SMART objective – but I said we would revisit it and now is the chance).
Options. At this point, we list every possible thing that you COULD do to achieve your goal. In the example of cycling 901 miles, you COULD :
- a) Get up every morning at 6am for 30 mins on the bike
- b) Drive the route over the next 4 weekends to familiarise yourself
- c) Start taking on more food to make up for the excess calories you’re expending
- d) Cycle to work every day
- e) Spend the next 12 weekends cycling 25 miles per day, staying out over night to get used to the kit
- f) Undertake a bicycle maintenance course
- g) Cycle in your lunch break
- h) Start a conditioning fitness class in the evenings
- i) Hire a private coach to motivate you and ensure you meet your targets
- j) Get online and find a cycling programme to build you up to the distance
- The List Goes On and should be filled with everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. If it pops up in your head, put it on the list because you never know just what might be a possible option.
Will. Here, we are honest with ourselves once more. Here, you list those things you actually WILL do, either because of fixed restrictions in your life or because you simply don’t want to give up too much of your life in achieving this (and that is alright too, you know). So perhaps you decide that:
- a) is just not happening because you work too late and need your sleep.
- b) will happen because it’s a chance for a roadtrip with the family for them to see the country.
- c) is a definite but you’re going to have to budget for it.
- d) definitely – work is 10 miles away, so that’s 20 miles per day.
- e ) no because you’re driving the route for 4 of them but after that you can reassess
- f)………. you get the point.
So, by the end of this process, you have broken your goal down and thoroughly analysed whether or not it is realistic, what position you are in to achieve it and have begun to analyse factors in helping you get there.
As a look forward, next week we will translate all this information in to a Development Schedule / Programme, populated with targets along the way; we will look at Branch Plans, just in case the unexpected gets in the way – we want you to remain motivated and not be put off just because of a bump in the road.