The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect over the one just gone and think about where you want to be this year. It’s time to celebrate past achievements, review performance and set goals for the upcoming season.
We asked our friends at leading nutrition brand HIGH5 for their advice on setting and achieving your goals, whether you’re after a coveted PB or are just wanting to get started. Here's what they said.
When you’re setting goals, it’s important to make them specific, achievable, measurable and timed. Setting a vaguer goal such as 'I’d like to improve my performance' is difficult to measure and you could end up disappointed. Try setting one such as 'My half marathon PB is two hours and five minutes. I’d like to run my autumn half in less than two hours.' This is measurable, specific, achievable and has a time limit.
Step one - review your 2020 performance
To get you started, here are some prompts. It’s good to put your thoughts down on paper – refer back to them when you look at your 2021 goals. Don’t forget to speak to your fellow athletes for a different perspective and other insights.
- What was my biggest achievement this year?
- What am I most proud of in 2020?
- What was my personal best time/distance?
- What challenges did I encounter and overcome this year?
- What mistakes did I make in 2020?
- Can I use these challenges to improve my 2021 performance?
Step two - set your 2021 goals:
If you’re having trouble thinking of where to start when it comes to goals, write down your wildest goals (don’t hold back!) and break it down into smaller goals that will get you there. For example, if you’ve never run a race before but want to do London Marathon one day, your smaller goals could be to first join a Park Run, complete a 10k, and then finish a half marathon. Think about what might be realistic for you to achieve this year – if you can run a half marathon this year, a full marathon could become your 2022 goal. What daily habits can you put in place to help you achieve these bigger goals?
Make sure to write down your goals and be specific as possible – goals that are written down are more likely to be achieved! Stick it somewhere you’ll see every day so you can refer to it during periods of lower motivation.
Once you’ve got an idea of your potential goals, take a look at these prompts to help you refine them and make sure they’re right for you.
Do I enjoy the process of reaching this goal?
If you don’t enjoy the journey, then the destination isn’t important. You’re going to spend countless hours working towards an achievement such as finishing a marathon, but the achievement of crossing the finish line is momentary!
What’s my biggest goal?
Think years ahead and don’t hold back – what’s your ultimate goal?
What steps do I need to take to get there?
Break it down into smaller goals – what do you need to complete to get you there?
Which one of these can I complete this year?
Choose one or two of these smaller goals that you can complete in 2021. Be honest and realistic with yourself – don’t take on too much, but also try to challenge yourself.
How will I measure my success?
Think of something tangible such as weekly/monthly miles or minutes so you can keep track of your progress.
What daily habits can I put in place to get there?
Break your 2021 goals into even smaller chunks and think about the daily or weekly steps you need to put in place to get there. For example, if you want to cycle 100km in a day by the end of the year, do you need to book time every weekend to complete a longer ride? Do you need to experiment with nutrition on those rides to find a good nutrition strategy?
Is it realistic?
If you want to train every day – does that include bad weather? It’s great to be optimistic and set yourself a challenge, but make you actually want to do it!
One of the easiest ways to set a goal is to sign up to a race or virtual challenge, as it’s specific, measurable and time-bound.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate all the goals, big or small, when you achieve them!
Step three - get the right nutrition in place to support your training
No matter your goal, nutrition is an important part of training. The right nutrition strategy can support you on your journey towards your goals and help you achieve them, so make sure you’ve got it in mind when you come up with your 2021 plan! With over 25 years’ experience providing sports nutrition products, HIGH5 products are packed with everything you need to be at your best – however big or small your goals are.
Let’s get the most out of this year – good luck!
Words by HIGH5