So you’ve found a Spartan race that you want to compete in — or you’re currently perusing the 2021 schedule — and have signed up, but have you determined what you want to accomplish in that race? And have you shared your goal with a friend? Increase your odds of reaching that achievement by applying commitment practices to your daily routine.
To help you tap into the power of commitment and reach future goals, we talked to Dr. Lara Pence, PsyD, and Stephen Gonzalez, Ph.D., a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) and Association for Applied Sport Psychology executive board member.
With the release of our 2021 schedule, and in (hopefully) turning towards some relative modicum of normalcy, it’s a fitting time to examine why committing to a specific goal helps you reach it, and how to execute with intentionality. (Related: Achieve Your Biggest Goals By Focusing On One Word)
Goals, or even basic intentions, are important because without them, where do you direct behavior? “If I gave you a basketball without a hoop to shoot at, where would you shoot?” Gonzalez asks. “Goals are targets for where we want to direct behaviors and actions.” When you commit, you actually execute.
“When I’m working with clients, one of the first things I’ll ask them when we talk about goal setting is, ‘Does that goal align with your values?’” says Pence. It’s important to make sure what you’re aiming for is what you really want — not what a friend is working on — and one you can realistically achieve.
“I also tell clients to ask themselves, ‘How does this goal elevate you as an individual and elevate your contribution on this planet?’” says Pence. “One of the things I think people stumble with when making a commitment is connecting to a purpose. Having an emotionally-guided goal can help you dig deeper when motivation wanes.” While training for a Spartan race, you’ll likely develop grit and persistence and connect with other people. Working towards those higher purposes can give you a boost when you’re tired of training or feeling unmotivated. (FYI, here’s what to know before you sign up for a Ragnar Relay.)
A date is that definitive line in the sand as to when something will happen or will be completed, and without it, it’s very easy to ditch accountability. “There’s an old saying: ‘The easiest way to cure procrastination is to have a due date,’” says Gonzalez. If you haven’t pulled the trigger on signing up for your next race, the time to do so is now.
An often-cited study out of the Dominican University of California found that when people wrote down a specific goal, they were nearly 50 percent more likely to achieve it than those who didn’t jot it down. In fact, study subjects who wrote down their intentions, formulated steps on how to achieve their commitment, sent that goal to a friend, and updated the friend with weekly progress reports were the most likely to achieve their goals. (These tips will help you stay motivated to workout all winter long.)
Pence recommends her clients write their goal down every morning. “The repetition of writing something down feeds into what we know about neuroscience,” she says. “The more we expose ourselves to something, the more real it becomes, and the more likely it is to occur.”
Read the full article on Spartan.com.
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