Many are looking to 2023 with a sense of renewed hope and optimism. With two unusual years behind us, we can’t wait for life to return to normal. When it came to training during the pandemic, some gave up on training altogether, suffering a lack of motivation. Others fell somewhere in between—they dabbled in virtual challenges, built solid at-home yoga and strength routines, and didn’t feel guilty about second helpings of cake.
When it came to our training, each one of us approached the year differently in 2022. Some gave up on training altogether, suffering a lack of motivation.
With 2023 on the horizon and the return to normalcy it promises, many of us are allowing New Year’s goals to bubble up inside of us once again. And just like the year in review, those goals are going to look different for everyone. What’s important is that you set them.
“Goals get us going,” “They are targets that draw us out of bed. They are the dreams that fire us up and turn the work we’re doing into the most exciting thing we can think of—even if to others the grind seems tedious.”
Big goals are “the vital nutrient in our training diet,” and for anyone who’s chased one knows what he or she is talking about. So, don’t whine about what could’ve been; here’s how to better understand goals so you can tackle them with purpose.
These concrete targets are the easiest to articulate, including statements such as: “I want to lose 10 kgs,” or “I want to set a new squat PB,” or “I want to gain 2 kgs of muscle.” Or maybe it’s simply to complete your first half-marathon race or Olympic triathlon race. These are what we call primary, or measurable goals.
These are the same goals that can crush us when a motivation starts to tank, or when injury prevents us from training at all. Maybe the goal was harder than you expected. Whatever the reason, not being able to achieve these goals can leave you still feeling hungry.
Refine the essential, “base” goals by working with your coach or looking at your training metrics on a whole. Sit down and be honest with yourself: Are you really capable of running a marathon if you haven’t run since last March? Asking the tough questions will help make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success, and reasonable expectations. What goals are important to chase this year, and which ones can be shelved for a future date? Try to land on goals that fall somewhere between possibility and pushing you.
Adding in a few “extra goals,” as we call them, is smarter than focusing only on the big ones. These are the potatoes and vegetables, they might not be the main event, but they add colour and nutrients to our “plate” of goals.
One example of an “extra goal” could simply be to face every challenge that comes along with calm. “That means not freaking out if you get a sick,”. “It means bringing yourself back to a place of quiet every time your mind starts to yell at you to quit.” It would be something as simple as “every morning I will have breakfast” or “Every day I will walk the dog”. Its secondary to your original goal, but overall, it’s a system to ensure you are getting the most out of life.
“Contingency goals” are what we call “last level” goals. Just like dessert, they’re the ones you might not always need to indulge. “Say work is really hectic, your kids keep getting sick and your goals evaporate before you,”. “The ‘Contingency goals” goal is always to do your best” — It's your plan B for when things aren't going as you had hoped. Even though the voice in your head is telling you to quit, you have a goal that’s louder. You said you would do strength training twice per week. Maybe you only squeezed out 15 minutes x 2 sessions, rather than 2x 60 minutes. Maybe you must sacrifice that Friday night out to make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep. Maybe you must reduce your alcohol consumption. Whatever it is, have a fall-back plan.
Before January is over, sit down and write out your goals for 2023—and let yourself dream. It sounds cheesy but just knowing where you are going is so important to getting to where you want to be. Dream big.