Often people decide to set goals that they never get to
reach because they haven’t determined what
success looks like. Setting a goal like “getting healthy” is difficult to reach
if you don’t include a measurement showing what healthy looks like.
One of the most popular methods for goal setting is the
SMART method. Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and
Timely. Setting SMART goals helps keep you on track and know exactly when you
The only issue I have with the SMART method is often we
don’t know what is attainable or realistic for us until we try. I never thought
that I could complete an Ironman. While so far I have been right, that doesn’t
mean that it isn’t attainable or realistic. We often set easy goals. How do you
know you can’t go further and faster until you try it? Another issue with goal
setting is not reaching our goal feels like failure. How depressing it is to
work hard towards a goal and not succeed?
Instead, I follow the Bergeron method.
THE BERGERON METHOD
With The Bergeron Method, don’t just set one goal for
yourself... set three for each activity. The middle goal should be your SMART
goal - something you think is attainable and realistic. Then raise the bar a
bit and set your stretch goal to go faster, longer, or further than you really
think you can and make that your ultimate goal. Finally, set your third goal as
one that allows for you to still feel successful even if things go terribly
Here is an example of my goals:
Complete the 2017 Mont-Tremblant Ironman in
under 16 hours.
Complete the 2017 Mont-Tremblant Ironman
within the 17 hours allocated. (Preferably upright but crawling is not out of
Participate in the 2017 Mont-Tremblant
Ironman and go further than my last Ironman attempt, without ending up in the
Setting goals this way
provides you with a goal that will push you as hard as possible, and stretches
your imagination of what you were capable of doing. It also gives you two goals
to reach that still leaves you feeling successful.
BREAK IT DOWN
Once you have your main
goals set, break each down so you have smaller goals to aim for along the way. This
helps in two ways; first it allows you to focus on a smaller goal so it doesn’t
seem so daunting, and secondly it lets you track your progress in specific
I will complete my swim within one hour and
I will complete the swim component with a
faster time than my last attempt (1:49).
I will complete the swim component strong.
I learned my lesson last
year when I didn’t manage to complete my first Ironman attempt. I went in with
a goal of just crossing the finish line within the 17 hours. When I had to step
off the course at the 21km mark of the run, I felt defeated. I felt like I had
failed and I let so many people down. I put a good face on it and tried to be
positive, but inside I was devastated.
Once I had a few days to rest,
I reflected on my race and realized that I hadn’t failed at all. I had gone further
than I had ever gone in my life before. I pushed through 14 hours and 205km in
40 degree temperatures - and lived to tell the tale. I may not have reached my
ultimate goal that day, but demonstrated to myself that I am stronger than I
have ever been.
This was just the dry run...look out Mont-Tremblant Ironman, I’m going to conquer you in 2017!
Diane is a proud member of The Tandem Project and Won with One Triathlon team. For more information, go to www.thetandemproject.org. Questions? Comments? Email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org