March 9, 2021

Set Goals Rooted In Purpose!

Running isn’t just something you do, running is an extension of who you are and what you value. It’s a vehicle for self-expression. Simply put, we run because we love it! Your goals, races, and big adventures should be looked at through that same lens. Those goals are just a big celebration of the things you care about most.

When thinking about goals for 2021, whether it’s your dream loop in the mountains, a race that challenges you or a fast marathon or 5k on the roads, make sure you ask yourself one big, tough question before you add that event to your calendar. “Would I do this if I couldn’t tell anyone else about it?”

This one simple question asks athletes to look deep inside. If the answer is yes, that goal is almost certainly linked to your purpose, or why and is usually a great fit for you. A natural extension and celebration of your running journey. But, if you’re unsure, if you’re hesitant, or answer a resounding “no” that means you should take a step back and re-evaluate that goal.

It’s important that your goals take root in your purpose and/or why because, without that emotional connection, the tough days are a lot tougher to work through. Motivation is harder to come by and our journey toward that goal is less sustainable. Athletes who root their goals in their purpose and whys tend to have longer careers and more success, because when the going gets tough, that personal connection helps the athlete stay the course. The great paradox is that athletes who are less married to specific events and goals, and more focused on the process itself, tend to have better outcomes anyway. The power of goals doesn’t come from setting them. They’re not just something that you gaze at off in the distance. They should be guideposts that direct and influence your daily behaviors, and that bring you joy in pursuing them.

For goal setting to be most effective, you should engage with them frequently, committing to the actions and behaviors that they require. If pursuing a specific goal doesn’t bring you a lot of joy and fit fairly neatly into the folds of daily life (there will always be some days that feel challenging, but pursuing a goal shouldn’t feel overwhelming or like a daily strain), then that goal might not be great for that specific moment. That doesn’t mean you should never pursue that goal – the time may just not be right. And that’s okay! There’s no expiration date on big dreams. But it’s important to be open and honest with yourself about how those things fit together. Reevaluating your goals doesn’t make you a quitter, it makes you smart.

When identifying your goals, set yourself up for success. Be realistic while also welcoming a bit of a challenge. Goals shouldn’t feel like strict expectations or negative pressure that you’re putting on yourself, but rather like encouragement to strive towards your potential. Setting goals will help provide purpose and add meaning to the daily training grind. 

For a deeper dive into this topic – check out Zoë’s latest DNF podcast featuring Mike Foote. (If you have a second, leave a review and send to a friend! It’s hugely helpful in getting the show out there!)