Setting yearly goals is a fairly common practice. Whether you call them resolutions or goals, many of us start off each year intending to reach new heights over the next 12 months.
Well, 1/5th of 2019 is in the history books. Have you moved closer to achieving those goals you set?
If you are on schedule or even ahead of schedule...kudos to you. Keep going strong towards those goals. Achieve them early so that you can go beyond what you initially thought was possible to be accomplished in twelve months.
If you are not on pace or haven't even started on some of your goals, don't worry. It's not too late. You still have a majority of the year in front of you.
As a long distance runner, there's a saying that I try to compete by. The saying is that "It's not how you start that matters but how you finish!" I had to learn this the hard way as in high school I tended to run to the lead early in races and then ran out of steam before the finish. The adrenaline of competing seemed to take over but once that adrenaline wore off I had nothing left to run on.
The interesting thing is once I started running at a slower, controlled pace at the beginning of races I was able to not only hold that pace longer but increase speed at the end. That's when I began to realize success in competition. I was able to hold off that adrenaline rush until the end of the race when the possibility of coming in first brought a bigger rush than the start of the race was bringing.
You've probably heard long term goals, like yearly goals, referred to as 'a marathon and not a sprint.' That's because if you set a goal that is going to take twelve months to accomplish, you can't likely turn around the next day and complete that goal. It's going to take time, planning, discipline, and motivation. These are four key ingredients for completing long term goals. If you forget one of them, you put yourself at pretty high risk of not reaching your goals.
Time - long term success doesn't happen overnight. There are no quick fixes (or your goal wasn't truly a long term goal). Be realistic about when and how much time you need to dedicate to your goals. It's unrealistic for most high school athletes to run a 4 minute mile, but yet almost every mile competed at the high school level has at least one runner who runs though the first 200 meters at 4 minute mile pace (most of them not even breaking the 5 minute mile by the finish). You have to understand how long it's going to take to complete your task. Having steady pace always wins out.
Plan - you must know what steps you are going to take to get to your desired result. Sure the plan may change along the way, but a plan keeps you going towards the goal. Not having a plan is like running the first 200 meters at 4 minute mile pace while having a plan means running at the pace you are capable of 4:20, 4:40, or 5:00. When you run your pace, you always find yourself passing those people who didn't have a plan. They burnout while you are going along steadily within your abilities. Following your plan always wins out.
Discipline - possibly the most important ingredient to achieving goals. Without discipline to follow your plan, keep the adrenaline under control, and focus on the finish, it will be difficult to overcome the onslaught of obstacles that come your way. In that mile race, when you start out at 36 seconds for 200 meters and the leader goes out in 30 seconds, it takes discipline to stick to your pace and not rush to catch him over the next 200 meters. When you are looking at a twelve month goal, it takes lots of discipline to continue to plug away day after day. A lot of the time you won't see any measurable results in a 24, 48, or even 72 hour period. That's ok. The results will come if you continue.
Motivation - this can be mistaken for discipline at times. Motivation is needed to keep you disciplined to follow your plan on a timely basis. Motivation keeps all the other ingredients connected and working together. When that competitor takes a 6 second lead on you through 200 meters, not only do you need the discipline to stick to your pace but you need the motivation to keep going knowing if he does keep that pace you won't likely achieve 1st place. Internal motivation comes from continually wanting to improve on your previous performance with no regard to any other person's performance. You can still achieve your goal without getting 1st place. Motivation is key in knowing the difference between winning in competition and winning at your personal goals. You may not always win in competition but you can always win at your goals.
With 20% of the year done, you may be finding your adrenaline starting to wear out. You may be realizing you haven't started yet. Or you may be finding you are ahead of schedule. Whatever the case may be, you still have 80% of the year to go. That is both a lot of time but also a short amount of time. We've all found those moments in life where we look around where all the time went. In the moment, time takes forever but when you are looking at an entire year it goes by fast.
Wherever you are in the path to your goals, it's not over. Adjust your plan if you have to. Don't give up just because it's mid-March. Keep it steady, stick to the plan, and you'll achieve your goals come December.