England international runner, Hannah Irwin, looks at the buzz of setting, achieving and celebrating your running goals.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after achieving one of your goals. Whether it’s a long-standing goal you’ve been working towards for a long time, or a small stepping-stone, the sense of achievement has such a rewarding effect and tells you the hard work was worth it.
It is this buzz that causes some of us to continually feel driven to set new goals and test ourselves in different ways. If you are someone who thrives off setting and achieving goals, running is the ideal sport for you. It offers an endless number of opportunities to set and achieve your aims.
In this article, I look at setting goals and what it is about achievement that makes us feel so great.
How to achieve the buzz
Whilst feeling the buzz of success may be great, it is no easy journey, and it can be difficult to know where to set off from.
Like most things, it is best to start at the beginning.
Firstly, think about what it is you want to achieve. There is no point deciding you want to achieve ‘something’ without knowing what this is. Initially, you can set one overarching goal to set you off in the right direction, but it usually helps to set additional, smaller ones; these are stepping-stones.
These differing goals can be referred to as A, B, and C goals. A is your main focus, and B and C are the smaller steps along the way. For example, an A goal may be a race or time you want to run, but the B and C goals will be the little steps you need to tick off to get to your main goal.
This can help you remain positive, as you frequently feel like you’re achieving. It also makes the journey to your ultimate goal seem less overwhelming.
The power of this approach is that it is a circular, recurring process. You are constantly able to set a goal (one that may scare you), work hard to reach it, achieve it, feel the buzz, and then start all over again. This cyclical process can help you feel a sense of belonging and direction, because no matter where you are in the goal cycle, you are always moving forwards.
This is why running is such a powerful sport; because you are constantly able to set goals and follow the process.
A key reason as to why achieving a goal is so great, is the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. This feeling of having succeeded at something you have set your mind on makes you feel incredible, because you have finally arrived at the destination you have been travelling towards. You have managed to achieve something you might have previously thought impossible.
This buzz of making the impossible possible acts as a form of positive reinforcement. It encourages you to push yourself to see where your potential lies.
If you set your mind on something and achieve it, you feel as though the journey was worth it, which gives you the satisfaction of knowing your perseverance was paramount.
All you may want to do next is set another goal and feel the buzz again.
If you decide to follow the A, B, C method of setting goals, it allows you to constantly feel as though you are moving forward. Setting and achieving smaller, bitesize goals, can have an incredibly positive impact on your mind. This feeling of progression and development gives you the confidence to keep working towards your main goal.
Whilst it is ok to stay in a stable place, many of us enjoy developing ourselves throughout life. Achieving a goal does just that; it provides you with confirmation that you are growing and progressing as a runner and an individual.
Achieving a goal can never be taken away from you.
No two people have the same goal, because whatever it is, it means something different to everyone. When you tick that goal off your list, it can’t be compared to anyone else, because it was your unique, personal achievement.
For example, if your goal was to set a 5K personal best and someone else has the same aim, you have both come from different places and are on different journeys, so no one can match your achievement.
Reflecting on your running achievement is a crucial part of the goal process. As you look back on the progress you have made to get to where you are now, you might be shocked by how far you have come. This reflecting phase lets you recognise your progress and how far you have come.
It might be a new PB time, a best in the gym, or a specific fitness goal. Whatever it is, you can easily measure your development and be proud. This achievement is yours to celebrate so don’t be afraid to relish the confidence boost.
The most exciting part of ticking one of your goals off your list, is the excuse it brings to celebrate. Especially in these uncertain times, when it can seem like there is little reason to party, celebrating your achievements feels even better than before.
Once the goal has been achieved, you are able to value the opportunity to relax and be proud of the progress you have made so much more. Whether you make a special meal at home, have a glass or champagne, or enjoy a movie night, you can now make the most of the success you have experienced.
It is important to note, that whilst this blog is about the positivity of achieving your goals, not achieving them immediately is very common and an essential part of the journey.
This is what gives you the strength to pick yourself up and keep trying until you do succeed. If you don’t achieve your goal the first few times, keep trying, because if you believe in yourself, the chances are you can accomplish your goals.
Hannah Irwin, is an international runner, who has represented England over 10K and cross country.
Check out Hannah’s other articles for Lonely Goat Running Club and keep an eye out for more, coming soon.