Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My goal is S.M.A.R.T.

I wrote yesterday about the definite end of winter, a process which continues this morning in the persistent drumming rain. I also mentioned the setting of goals and the five principles I employ in goal setting. They're the same 5 principles I used to teach when I was running a counselling practice so I am very familiar with them.

So, here is my catriking goal for this year. I will trike no fewer than 300 kilometres this season. Now, bear in mind that the catriking season is a lot longer than the x-c ski season so this goal should be an easy one to attain. However, in keeping with the S.M.A.R.T. principles, I'd thought I'd analyze my goal.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for "Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely" and the correct application of this acronym depends entirely on being perfectly honest with oneself. This process is often used for goals like weight loss or for quitting smoking but it can be used in any life goal. Sure it can. We start by asking questions and then giving HONEST answers.

S= Is my goal specific? Yes it is. I have set a specific goal of no fewer than 300 kilometres in a triking season. I can go higher but my dead minimum goal is 300 so let's just stick with that here.
M= Can my goal be measured? You bet it can! My catrike has a little speedometer which also includes a trip odometer and total odometer. This is a neat little device we got for our trikes from Mountain Equipment Co-op. A lot of cyclists use these little devices so they're not all that strange. I can and have used my trip odometer to keep a running total throughout the season. So, every trip I take I will include that information so you, my dear reader (all 4 of you), can also keep track.

A= Can I attain my goal? Well, that depends on things like the weather, the condition of my trike and my own health. The weather I can't control, especially as we are in the midst of climate change. Who knows how decent this season will be? However, I can still take advantage of those good days and, perhaps, go a little further. The fitness of my trike is a known quantity. We take such good care to maintain our trikes by checking them regularly, cleaning them, oiling the chain and doing many inspections before and after a trip that I have no concerns there. Remember that Adam and I both used to fly airplanes so we're used to this kind of mechanical awareness. As for my health, well, like the weather, I cannot predict how that will all go. However, I can take advantage of good days and also remember that the triking season, typically 9 months, is long enough that 300 kilometres shouldn't be that difficult.

R= Is my goal realistic? Sure it is. I'm not going to try and cycle 300 kilometres in a weekend. I am quite sure (at this point in time) that I can reach my goal.

T= Is this the right time to try? When I graduated from university, one of the remarks the dean had said during the ceremony was a quote from, yes, Yoda. "Do, or do not. There is no try." I have no clue how the weather, my trike or, more critically, my health will go. So, if I don't try this year, I may never have another chance. So, yes, this is as good a time as any.

Stay tuned, right?

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