A challenge for success

In Trucker's Health, February 20226 MinutesBy Laura PeacockMarch 5, 2022

Here are some simple tips for setting challenging- yet-achievable goals for yourself in 2022.

As each new year begins, we often feel full of hope, promise and ham. Naturally, we want to embrace this renewed energy and enthusiasm and aim it towards what we would like to achieve in the next 365 days. But I think it’s also important to be realistic and to avoid the temptation of setting lofty goals that will inevitably leave us feeling disheartened and disappointed.

1. Is it important to YOU?
Before you set a goal, you need to establish who you are doing it for. If you are trying to lose weight or get healthier to please others, you are already on the back foot. Being ‘forced’ into a healthy lifestyle already has negative connotations and will encourage the desire to rebel and go against what everyone else wants you to do.

Whereas, if you set a goal knowing from the outset that you are doing it largely for yourself and what you think is best for you and your happiness, you are setting yourself up for success.

2. Is your goal measurable?
The vaguer you are in setting your goal, the more difficult it will be for you to know if you’ve achieved it or not. Telling yourself you will ‘get fit’ this year is extremely vague. What being fit means to you may be entirely different to what being fit means to others. It is all relative.

For example, if Susan is already running 5km comfortably and by the end of the year is running 7km comfortably, that is a small achievement. But if Sally has never run a day in her life and is running 7km comfortably by the end of the year, that is a sizeable achievement. So you have to be realistic about where you are currently and where you would like to realistically see yourself in a year – be specific.

3. Is your goal realistic?
Whenever you’re setting a goal, whether it be about your health and fitness, career or anything in between – you need to be honest with yourself about how realistic it is for you to achieve. Things you need to keep in mind include other commitments, timeframe, lifestyle, family life and work schedule.

I’m not discouraging dreaming big and setting yourself amazing challenges. But you do need to weigh up your current workload and what is already on your plate and whether you can realistically tackle another big undertaking.

4. Do you have a good support network?
Typically, if you set yourself a personal goal, it is mostly up to you to put in the work to achieve it. But as the saying goes, ‘It takes an army’. When you are under pressure, stress or time constraints, it can directly impact your nearest and dearest so, in turn, it becomes their journey too.

It would help immensely if you had the support and encouragement of partners, friends and family to aid you along the way and push you through the more challenging days. I can say that my loved ones got me through many of my endurance events both on event day and in the months of training leading up to the event. Make sure you share the ins and outs of your goal and give your loved ones a good understanding of where you are and where you’re headed (unless, of course, it is a private and personal journey).

5. Celebrate your successes and achievements
It seems to be the Kiwi way to downplay our achievements. There’s nothing wrong with being humble, but it is also very important to celebrate personal progress and successes. It’s very easy to set a goal, achieve it and then think, ‘what’s next?’ without properly celebrating the fact that you’ve reached your first milestone.

Setting mini-milestone goals is also important because it keeps you excited and encouraged along the way, especially if your goal is fairly lofty. For example, if you set yourself the purpose of running a half marathon, make sure to pat yourself on the back when you’ve done a 10km run – you’re halfway, and that’s awesome.

Dare to try something new, challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”