More Thoughts on Goals

I just got back from a writing residency at the Banff Centre. I had a number of projects on the go. The biggest was my participation in NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month). That’s an initiative whereby tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people commit to trying to crank out a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. I wanted to get a good start on the 50,000 words needed to “win.”

Having just two weeks in Banff gave me a deadline that I used to propel me on to maximum productivity. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but a few days into NaNoWriMo I realized I could, realistically (while in Banff, not in my regular life), write about 5,000 words a day.

This experience gave me a new respect for and understanding of the power of goals. Not only did I meet the goal almost every day (but for one), I managed to complete my 50,000 words in just ten days. I would not have accomplished this without the goal.

How does this apply to fitness?  When I first started blogging back in September, I claimed to be anti-goals.  At the time, I had what I called “goal-resistance.”  But this experience with NaNoWriMo over the past couple of weeks showed me how powerful a motivator a goal can be.

When I got home, I made some definite commitments in my training. First, on my trainer’s advice I am going to introduce intervals into my running. Second, I have now officially begun the “ease into 10K” program in the hopes of being able to run a 10K relatively comfortably by mid to late January.  If these goals operate anything like the 50,000 words / 5,000 a day goal did, then simply having the goal will get me out the door on days when I otherwise would not go.

I am also re-committed to my goal of altering my body composition (reducing the percentage of fat and increasing the percentage of lean mass).  I hope that having a specific goal in mind for this (25%), with a timeline (by February 1, 2013), will keep me making good choices at all the holiday parties ahead.

I’m sure this is basic commonsense to many people. But to me, I feel like I’ve re-discovered the positive side of goals. Rather than feeling like traps, they now feel once again like positive ends that will keep me focused.

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