One of the best tools I used to help plan in my corporate roles was the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting model. This is a highly transferable and effective tool to use in planning and achieving your athletic endeavours. I encourage anyone to work through an effective goal-setting process when planning for events like Ironman, Half Ironman, or Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

What is SMART Goal Setting?

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting brings structure, robustness, and meaning to how you set and measure your goals. Instead of vague ideas and targets with little substance or thought, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps create a clear pathway towards your objective.

I do suggest working through this model with someone who has a good understanding of your current ability and potential. You will need honest objective feedback to maintain the effectiveness of the process and the end goal you land on.

What Does S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting Stand For?

S: Specific When setting your endurance goals, be crystal clear about what you want to achieve. Ask yourself important questions like where, when, who, and why. What exactly do you want to achieve? Where do you want to achieve it? When do you want to achieve your goal? Who do you need to help you achieve your goal? What limitations might you face in achieving it? Why do you want to reach this goal? Being specific lays the foundation for a well-defined target.

M: Measurable A measurable goal is one with concrete evidence of achievement. Break down your endurance goal into measurable elements. You should 'know' precisely when you have achieved it. Measuring progress is crucial for staying on track and staying motivated.

A: Achievable Is your goal attainable? Consider the effort, time, and other commitments in your life. Assess whether you have the time, dedication, and physical potential to reach your goal. Be realistic about your capabilities while keeping your ambition alive. Balance is key.

R: Realistic This part of the process can be the most challenging. Your goal must be realistic given the available resources and time. It also needs to be relevant to you. Ask yourself why you want to achieve this particular goal. Ensuring your goal aligns with your values and desires will boost your motivation.

T: Timely Assign a deadline to your endurance goal and ensure your timeline is realistic. The deadline may be tied to a specific event, so consider whether the race date allows you enough time to prepare fully. A well-planned timeline keeps you accountable and focused.

SMART goal-setting methodology is a powerful tool for endurance athletes. It brings clarity, accountability, and structure to your goals, making the journey towards your athletic aspirations more achievable. Remember to seek feedback from someone who understands your abilities and potential, and work diligently towards your SMART goals.