SMART Goal Setting

goal setting

Goal Setting is an Important Part of a Successful Season

Way back in October, I sat down and came up with some goals for my 2015 season while I began working on my training plan.  I also wrote a piece on goal setting.  With the release of the Road O-Cup schedule, I thought it was a good time to revisit goal setting and my personal goals for 2015.

SMART Goal Setting

Goal setting is an important part of planning for a successful season.  Setting goals gives you direction in your training and racing by providing you with something to work towards.  When goal setting, I like to ensure that my goals fit within the principle of SMART.

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced, and Timed

Lets look at each part of SMART in turn while using a common goal, “to get faster,” as an example of a poor goal.

Specific: A goal like to “get faster” is too vague to be a good goal.  What does faster even mean?  Do you want to sprint faster?  Time trial faster?  Climb faster?  I could achieve this goal by just going out for a group ride, isn’t that riding faster?  A good goal would be specific to one area.  For example, “improve time trialling” would be a good start to a goal.

Measurable: How will you know if you have gotten faster?  What metric will you use to judge your increase in speed?  If we continue with the example goal of improving one’s time trialling, you can continue to build on it by saying “complete a 25 minute 15km time trial,” for example.

Achievable: Set realistic goals.  For example, a Cat. 3 racer shouldn’t make a goal to win the National Championship.  They are just setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.  Achieving goals can be massive confidence boosts while failing can be demoralizing.  So when setting goals, make sure your goal is something that will challenge you but you stand a chance at achieving it.

Resourced: Its great to set an ambitious goal, but make sure you have the resources you will need to achieve that goal.  For most amateur cyclists, the most important resource that will determine if they reach their goals is time.  Be realistic about how much training time you have available when setting your goals.

Timed: Set a date for when you want to reach your goal by.  Going back to the “go faster” example, when do you want to be able to go faster?  Setting a target date for your goals will keep you motivated.  If you don’t set a target date you will just say “I can work on that later” and leave it.  If you set a target, you will be motivated to work towards it.  For example, a good goal would be: “complete a 25 minute 15km time trial by June 1.”

So thanks to SMART, we have concluded that a good goal would be: “complete a 25 minute 15km time trial by June 1.”

Now its your turn.  Use the principles of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced, Timed) to set goals to make 2015 your best season yet.