Anyway, I think what he has to say about setting goals and achieving goals is fresh, relevant, and very useful, if perhaps slightly "mature" for this family website. I love all of his ideas, especially the "make the choice to commit", I find this very similar to my Lance Armstrong theory.
I think Patrick says things I want to say in a much more "real" way than most people, so take a couple minutes and read what he says through. Then think about it for a couple more minutes, and read it again. His words ring true, and I think his advice is good for all of us, in all the ways we pursue happiness.
THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
By: Patrick Stinson
At the start of every season coaches sit down with their athletes and go over the previous year, their goals for the next year, and put together a plan on how to accomplish them. Having had some success in the past, but also burnt out, I’ve got a lot of these lessons to plot out for this coming season. Since it’s hard to keep it all in my head, I decided to lay down some ground rules for myself if I’m actually going to commit myself to my goal this summer.
Each of these rules is as important as the other, and they all work separately but compliment each other. Every one comes from a fatal mistake I’ve made in the past. If I was an elementary teacher I’d draw one of those cheesy wheel diagram things.
First: Follow the music
This is the number one rule of engagement.
These means always do what makes you happy, even (and especially) if it means you need to drop the goal and do something else. If you aren’t happy, then you are missing the point. I call it following the “music” because when I think back to the things that made me happy, I can feel the groove. I can’t feel it in bad memories.
Another way I think of this, is where “the sun shines the brightest.” Remember that vacation where the sun was just raging through and all the colors and life was super bright? That’s your happy place. Music. Sunshine. Vibe.
Remembering this also helps picking your goal. Quality aspirations makes for quality preparation.
Declare and remember why you want to do it
When you follow the path to your goal, remember what you want to do it for. If you want to score points to make the team more than anything, that’s it. If it’s shallow and you just want people to like you, then fine! Just remember to look out for when that’s not enough to satisfy you and you need to bail, or when you can find another easier way to accomplish that goal.
Make the choice to commit
No standing on the fence. Making the conscious decision to commit magically changes your whole thought process. Live in the now! Don’t think “I’m gonna, I’m gonna.” Think “See? I am, I am.”
Think it through, shake hands with fate, agree to win.
Stay pumped to push it
The number one thing that can answer all your questions on how and when to train is to be pumped to get out there and push it. There is no substitute for this. If you are excited, you will just get out there and get in shape, like magic. This will keep quality in your workouts. You can’t go out and convince yourself that you are psyched, you just are. Remember that.
No crappy days where you are just logging hours allowed. Be psyched.
Make small, attainable, incremental goals
If your goal is to just “train hard and win the race”, you will end up with too much pressure and you’ll burn right the hell out. This is especially true when the training season gets longer than 4 months. If you divide a 9 month season into 4 parts, then you can relax on the big goal and just get all anxious and worried about the next small goal - not that big of a deal when it’s only 2 months away. Divide and conquer, baby.
When the workout is over, it’s over
Give yourself a chance to rest. When you hit the shower, you forget about training. Go outside, draw a picture, drink a beer, call your mom, whatev. If you don’t rest your brain, you can’t rest your body.
You have to keep your head “above water.” When you get so focused on your goal that you fall down the rabbit hole and never take your nose off the grindstone, your nose will bleed and you’ll rip your face off. Your training will suck and you’ll lose sight of the big picture. Make a conscious, considerate effort to regularly check in with yourself in order to make sure that you are doing everything on this list.
Good luck! We all need it.