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Setting Goals

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I’ve entered to run a 33-mile ultra-marathon in October. I’ve never run a marathon, so what made me do this?

Well, it sort of comes to setting goals. How should you set goals? Should they be easily achievable or slightly out of reach?

I already had the Oxford Half Marathon booked. It was originally October 2020, but it was postponed to October 2021. 

When I booked it, running 13.1 miles was a big ask.  

Setting Goals

Now though I’m comfortable with that distance, so the goal wasn’t pushing me. I didn’t really have to put in the work, to make the result any different. I settled into a comfortable 20 miles a week without really seeing an improvement in myself. 

And to be honest I was coasting along and had lost some of the enjoyment of looking back at my results and feeling pleased with myself. 

I thought about setting a goal, I set myself 1500 miles for 2021, around 30 miles a week but still that wasn’t really exciting me. I looked at a couple of marathons but nothing was exciting me. 

Then I saw this ultra-marathon. 95% off road, through countryside, trail running – exactly what I love doing. But it’s 33 miles, there’s no way I’d be able to do that. Is there?

It bought me back to goal setting. How should you set goals? Should they be achievable, or slightly out of reach?

There is a great quote from Michelangelo:

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

And with that running through my mind, I booked it. No going back. I’m doing this. 

Even if I don’t make the distance, I’ll achieve more for having tried. 

Setting Goals

Last month we sent a bottle of champagne to one of our franchisees even though she missed her target by £400. Her target was to sell £80,000 worth of holidays. 

When she’d sold £75,000 worth of holidays, she could’ve sat back and been perfectly happy with herself, but she kept pushing. She had a bigger target in mind, one that at the start of the month might have seemed unachievable. 

And it was, but I would much rather have a franchisee miss a target of £80,000 by £400, than a one that had a target of £25,000 and achieved £35,000. 

How should you set goals? Should they be achievable or slightly out of reach?

In my opinion, having a target you can easily achieve is OK, it’ll keep you honest. You’ll do fine.

But if you really want to see results, if you really want to thrive and be great, you should set yourself a target that feels almost impossible, and you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve. 

Take your original target and double it. What’s stopping you?

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