I recently set, trained for and achieved a personal fitness goal of completing a half marathon. I've run many half and full marathons in the past, but not in several years so it was like starting over again. As I began and went through the 16 week process of training, I realized that running for a goal was a missing piece in my life that I needed for my own happiness and mental health. I remembered how the process, not the product was the real prize. But, crossing that finish line and crushing my time goal felt damn good, and I am already planning my next one!
So in this months blog, I wanted to share with you my own experiences, expert advice and the research and science behind correlations between the journey of reaching a goal and general happiness.
Let's start with what the research has found. A study from the journal of personality and social psychology found that personal goals that are congruent with your interests increase your emotional well-being. This means that working on your goals makes you happy!
That being said, setting goals and making progress on them can make us happier and more satisfied in life.
Why? Well defined goals make you happy because they help you to:
If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or things." -Albert Einstein
How to start
Your goals need to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
You must also create a plan that lays out the steps creating small more immediate goals that lead to the longer term goals. You must take baby steps and don't bite off more than you can chew at the start. Be patient and take the necessary time to build on each step and habit. This will make it more likely that you stick to it and succeed.
Brad Stulberg, a performance coach and the cofounder of The Growth Equation says, "Most people cycle through three stages: the grind of putting your head down and doing the work, fear of failure and enjoyment. But finding joy in showing up for the work is essential throughout the whole process and shouldn't be left for the end. Before you take on a goal, visualize the process and how it makes you feel. If you become tight and constricted, it may not be the right goal or time. If you feel open and curious, thats a good sign."
Frank Smoll, Professor of Psychology at The University of Washington says, "As you make progress along the way, celebrate each of the smaller steps. I like saying, 'Yard by yard is hard, but inch by inch is a cinch.' Self validation is very self motivating."
Zander Fryer, Founder of High Impact Coaching says, "If your goal is too big, it will scare you off, too small; it won't motivate you. Remind yourself that achieving a goal takes persistence, drive and resilience. Set your expectations that it will be harder and take longer than you expected."
I have overhauled myself via improved habits and goals in many different areas of my life and have become pretty good at it. Not only in the area of fitness but also in areas tied to personal growth and behavior change. I have faced so many challenges, successes and failures, and thats ok. Learning from each win, challenge and failure is key because you are teaching yourself what works for you and how you best overcome your own unique challenges.
I coach people for a living, teaching and helping them reach their goals. When my clients are successful, it also means I am successful at my job so I am highly invested in the process and the ultimate outcome for them. It is so very satisfying and makes me feel so happy to watch my clients slowly transform, reach their goals and gain their own goal related happiness.
Ready, Set, Goal!
my training vlog leading up to the Kona hawaii half marathon goal!
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."