Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aspirations, commitments and goals.

I read something today that resonated with me so I thought I'd share. The actual sentence had to do with corporate strategy but I thought it somewhat relevant to athletic pursuits with a bit of a slant. The phase that triggered my thought process was to "separate aspirations from commitments." In the corporate world I typically equate commitments with tangible goals (for reviewing employee performance). This equating got me thinking about my aspirations and goals for endurance sports.

Although I've signed up for a few events this year, none of them really has gotten me to make training for them a priority. I have a couple of century rides scheduled in May and a longer ride in June. I've been doing long rides so I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to finish. I haven't been doing the HIIT training that I should be. Yes, that type of training is hard. I haven't been watching what I'm eating and I'm getting way too heavy. Swimming and running has been deprioritized even though it may not be something done on purpose. In short, my performance has slipped and there are obvious reasons as to why.

Why haven't I gotten jazzed for these events? I think that it has to do with my aspirations not being clear. In the past, my aspiration was finishing an Ironman. I made a commitment to myself and defined a set of goals, macro and micro, to get there. It was a focus and I got it done.

I realized I don't have an easily defined aspiration now. The aspiration doesn't need to be something as epic as an Ironman but I think my aspiration needs to be somewhat of an elevator pitch that I can articulate in 10-15 seconds. It could be related to body composition/weight or performance in a Oly tri or perhaps even Ironman again in 2013. I plan on taking the next few weeks to define it and probably will adjust this blog to reflect it, whatever it will be.

I was talking to a friend on the phone this week and mentioned that my weight was going up. He commented,"well you fixed that before so I'm sure you can do it again." Time to start getting it done but define that aspiration first.

Stay tuned.


Teamarcia said...

This was a great post I can completely relate to. Often once the "big" goal has been achieved the smaller ones just aren't as much of a priority.

Carolina John said...

Sometimes we set goals out of an obligation to have a goal to work towards. I picked a 2:15 oly in August and also getting down to that 11% body fat that I never quite got to last year.

I'm not particularly motivated to touch either of those goals right now. Carrying way to much body fat to get faster and enjoying easter candy and the offseason.

Unknown said...

This makes a lot of sense Joe. The cool thing is that once you commit to getting your body composition where you want it the time/pace goals just naturally drop with the pounds. Make it a movable scale!

Unknown said...

I am right there with you. I feel the same way. My father said that when I was a kid I would work like crazy to accomplish something and then after I did it I would be on to the next thing.

After accomplishing your Ironman goal, maybe your fire to do anything less is not as hot. I guess you can self talk yourself into doing an Oly or 70.3 as an A race and try to get the burning desire back.

At any rate, I am right where you are as far as not having an A race this year and not feeling quite as charged up. I am currently trying to find ways of getting that fire back into my "triathlon" life.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Well, w/r/t weight, you never really "fix" it, right? It's a continuing thing, like recovering alcoholics with alcohol. Difference being that you don't need alcohol to live; you ("you" being a hypothetical alcoholic here) just have to stay away from alcohol altogether. Which is tough.

But imagine you were a recovering alcoholic and had to have some, but just some, alcohol every day ... just to keep living.

That's what keeping weight off is like for the chronically obese. And, to a lesser extent, it's like that for anybody with less severe weight issues. The vigilance has to last forever. It's not an achievable goal. It's ongoing.

Some people say losing weight and keeping it off is therefore even tougher than beating other addictions, like drugs or alcohol or tobacco.

Not sure I buy it entirely, but food is unique in that respect - you have to keep eating, even if food is your addiction.

Of course, little of this applies to you, I guess, because you're not that far gone with food. Just a little pudgy.

But still: FWIW.

Kate Geisen said...

I'm caught in a dry spell with nothing epic ahead of me. Seems like that's the only way to get myself really inspired and committed.

I keep reading that quote different ways, too. Aspirations = what you want to do, commitments = the people who are counting on you (where commitments are more important).

Aspirations = your big goals, commitments = all those things you say yes to that aren't that important but get in the way.

Kristin Bradfield said...

Great post, really well stated. It's hard to define aspirations sometimes. By the way, I love the your blog subtitle, particularly as I've found life interrupts a lot, but it makes the sport that much more treasured when I can make the time.