What could be my next sports related target?

Now it’s time to get step closer on nailing down my next target. I have been thinking this topic through from different points of views and would also like to share the thinking here. I hope writing them down will help me to clarify my own thoughts. Based on my “value map” exercise I have good idea which areas I want to include to my targets, so now I only need to decide how to do it.

I have concluded that I will most likely choose few different targets in order to cover more than one improvement area. Reason for this is that I think some of the improvement areas complement each others, and thus it’s better to include few of them at the same time instead of trying to sub-optimize one of them. One thing for sure though is that one of them will be related to sports one way or the other and thus this post is all about thinking through what kind of sports target would suit me best!

Let’s start by listing down those 4 things I would like to embed to my next target – if anyhow possible:

  1. Versatile: I want my target being comprehensive enough and not conflicting with things that I already do well today. For example I don’t want the topic to be something that can only be done inside and thus demotivates me being outside enjoying the nature and fresh air.
  2. Challenge: I don’t want to choose anything too easy as I miss something that would make me try new things and/or take me out of my comfort zone.
  3. Meaningful: Despite the previous point, I still want to do something I enjoy and a sport that I find interesting. That is the only way I can motivate myself to spend time doing it day by day and week by week.
  4. Time: As my blog’s name refers, I want the target to be achievable in 365 days. Thus the target needs to be something I can realistically achieve in that timeframe. My idea is that after the first 365 day period I will see where I am and then decide next target for the next 365 days.

Keeping these expectations in mind, I have listed different sports that I like doing today or which I would like to know more of. These are for example:

  1. Outdoor sports: Running, Skiing, Bicycling…
  2. Visual sports: Yoga, Dancing, Figure skating…
  3. Ball games: Tennis, Golf…

In addition to these thoughts, I need to keep in mind the “A” from the SMART –goal setting framework which I wrote about in my previous post: Target needs to be Achievable. I’m having a fulltime job which doesn’t leave me unlimited time to spend on sports. In addition I’m on the go quite often (travelling, at the summer house, visiting relatives etc.) which makes it challenging to choose a sport that is either bound to specific location or to specific time during week (like some team sports).

So… I need to now carefully consider these aspects and decide a good target out of these options. Especially I want to but emphasis on the versatility as too narrow scope doesn’t fit my own personality. On the other hand, my ambition is to be more focused and target driven than I have been in the past as otherwise I’ll just continue doing my random activities which is not providing any results or progress. Sound tricky, so let’s see what I’ll end up coming up with!

How to set a good target?

Having a clear target makes everything more meaningful and motivating. In addition the feeling when you reach something you have long dreamed of and worked hard towards, is very rewarding. Though I usually notice that the journey towards the target has been close to as fun as the target itself – and I think’s that is very important as otherwise you forget to live your life and just jump from one target to another.

But, how to then set a good target? That is usually difficult, but worth spending some time on. If you set your target wrongly, it becomes unmotivating and thus easily forgotten. As I wrote before, it’s also good to connect the target to your values, so that going after the target also help you live-up to your true values. In addition to choosing right targets, it’s important to formulate them in a meaningful way. Today I decided to share few thoughts and facts what is a good target and how to define it.

Widely known way to define targets is the “SMART concept”. I guess some of you already know what this is as it can be used in many contexts: business, personal life, sports… etc. I want to share this concept still one more time here as I think it’s a good and clear way to define a good target and thus increase the likelihood that it will be reached at the end of the day. So, what is this SMART all about?

Specific: Target defines clearly what it the desired outcome instead of being very broad and abstractive. For example if your target would be to “feel well”, it might be quite hard to know what you should do in order to reach it: does it mean that you want to feel more strong? Does it mean you want to be more energetic? Perhaps mentally stronger and less stressed? Or something else? Thus you should try to define your target very clearly, so you know exactly what you are after.

Measurable: You need to be able to measure your target to be sure how you are approaching it and when have you reached it. For example “I want to be fit by the end of this year” might be hard to plan as you can’t really tell how you are progressing. You can e.g. spend a lot of time at the gym, but if someone asks you in October, how you are doing compared to your target, you can only say that you are “in better shape that you were when you started”. And this definitely is not very motivating end result after all that hard work. Thus it’s better to define concrete measure for your target, e.g. “I can run 10km” or “I can do 50 push ups”. With this you can say in October that “I can already run 8km, so I’m only 2km away from my target”.

Achievable: Your target needs to be possible to reach in reasonable timeframe. If your target is too hard, you will give up on it more easily because you don’t feel any progress. For example if my target would be to finish ironman competition during 2019, I think I would give up already after few months as I would feel there is no way I can reach my target, so why even bother to try. If I on other hand would have a target to finish ¼ triathlon, I would have much better change to keep my motivation high and reach my target.

Relevant: The target needs to be meaningful for you and you need to believe in it yourself. If your target is to become a vegetarian but you are really not interested of this topic and you have no ideology or values behind it, it might be again hard to maintain your motivation towards it. On other hand if you are truly interested of impacts it might have to nature, to health or perhaps to ethics, it will be much more meaningful for you and you have true interest to reach your target.

Time bound: Lastly, target must be tied to time, so you need to have mental deadline to reach it. Otherwise it becomes a forever continuing project and you are never finished as you can always “do it tomorrow”.

If you want to read more about SMART –framework, I recommend checking e.g. this site.

I think my target from last winter was good example of “SMART”: I aimed to ski 1.000km during winter 2017-2018. This was very specific, I was able to measure it with Sport Tracker, knowing my skiing –background it was something I knew I can do if I really work hard towards it, I like nature and skiing and lastly, it had a clear deadline. I’m aiming to use this way of thinking also in my next target as I have noticed it being already once a good way to get myself motivated doing new things : )