a gOAL WITHOUT A PLAN IS JUST A WISH.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I will run the local 5k on January 1st in under 30 minutes.
Great! We have a clearly defined goal that we want to achieve. Now, let’s look at what it takes to get there.
I would argue that most people, barring serious injury or illness, would be able to finish a 5k without training. It may involve walking most of it, and it might not be fast, but they can cross the finish line. But for our goal, we want to run it in less than 30 minutes, which will definitely take some training for someone new to running. So how do we get there?
Do Your Research
Let's consider our goal. We would research running, training, etc., and learn a few things. Our research tells us we should run for at least 30 minutes at a time for training, and we should run at least 3 days a week. That’s enough information to get you started. As you learn more, you can add more detail.
Consider Potential Roadblocks
So considering these things, let’s try to set a Process goal.
I will run 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time.
Great! Remember SMARTS Goals? It still applies!
I will run at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays after I get
home from work, before I watch TV.
Our goal is specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, time-bound, and self-determined. When you start to do more research and learn more information from experience, you can get even more detail. Pacing, cadence, speed vs. endurance training. But to start out, keep it simple. Start small, work your way up, and remember, you can always adjust your goal if it becomes too easy or too difficult.
We are likely going to have multiple process goals to help direct us to our outcome goal. Here are a few more potential process goals in our example:
I will limit my junk food consumption to once a week on Saturday evenings.
I will eat more calories than my daily expenditure to aid recovery and training.
Each process goal acts as a direction in order to reach our final destination. This is our map. We just need to follow it.
Process: I will lose 1 pound a week by eating 500 calories under my daily caloric
I will prepare meals when I have time on the weekends so I don’t succumb to
the pressure of fast food.
I will park further away and walk at work, the grocery store, and anywhere else I
Here, our process goals are specifically designed to help us reach our ultimate outcome goal. They are well thought out and detailed, addressing possible roadblocks you may encounter along the way. Now we have our roadmap, and all we have to do is follow it!