I’ve been thinking a lot about goals lately. It’s only natural to do this at year’s end, I suppose. This year, 2011, has been a big year for me as far as running goes. I conquered 26.2, achieved a sub-2-hour half marathon, captured a 10K PR and, with any luck, I will get my 5K PR next month. So now what? What will my personal fitness goals be for 2012?

Should I focus on speed? I don’t know that I care to go much faster than I’m running currently. Distance? I promised my family I would take a break from full marathon training, so ultras are definitely out of the question. Weight loss? I have about 10 pounds to lose to meet my ultimate goal, but I feel okay with where I’m at now. I’m just not sure what to focus on.

For help, I did a quick Web search on goal-setting. An article, “How to Choose the Right Goals for YOU,” by Lori Jewett on the self-improvement site PickTheBrain.com had some helpful tips on how to set life goals. But I plan to use them to help determine my fitness goals for 2012.

Here are the questions the article proposed with my “fitness” interpretations:

What are your values?

What, in life, is important to you? What are you willing to give up? Not give up? For example, I value family time, which is why marathon or ultra training will be out for 2012. Shorter, less time-consuming training cycles will be in.

What are your strengths?

The article makes a point of differentiating strengths and skills. Skills are things you’ve learned and developed. Strengths are things that seem to come naturally to you.

What do you love to do?

Can you pinpoint the things you are passionate about? If you are having trouble, “Think back to when you were ten or so,” suggests the article. “What did you spend your free time doing?” Decide what it is you love, not have, to do.

What do you want your ideal day to look like?

This will help you determine if your goals will realistically fit into your lifestyle…or not. Outline your ideal day and try testing it out. That way, you can make adjustments before you put your full plan into action.

What’s required to reach this goal and will you enjoy the journey?

Most of your time spent accomplishing your goal will actually be on the journey. Marathon training, for me, lasted nearly 7 months. My actual race took 4 hours, 42 minutes and 51 seconds. You’ve got to enjoy yourself or you won’t stick with it. So, if you want to complete a triathlon, but you hate open-water swimming, then maybe you should think about a duathlon instead.

 

Take your time in answering these questions, advises Jewett, the article’s author. “Achievable goals are well-thought-out goals; goals that match who you are, what you do well and what you want out of life.”

 

How do you choose fitness goals? Have you thought about your 2012 plans? What are they?