Setting Goals: Alden Basmajian Takes on the Ironman World Championships

What is a goal? Is it a simple check on a list to mark something off for the day? Is it a lifelong accomplishment that has been attained after grueling and countless hours? Or is it something in between? A stepping stone of sorts to keep things in focus while still moving ahead towards a bigger achievement and plan?

Actually, it is all of those things and we set goals for ourselves each day. As an endurance athlete and triathlete, goals are part of my life. I have a goal for a year. Within the year, I have goals for particular builds and parts of the season and all the way down to the workouts on a daily basis. Goals keep me focused on what I’m trying to get out of my activities. They provide the context for “the why” of certain decisions and actions.

Goals hold me accountable. My goal for 2019 is the same as for 2018. I want to earn a spot to the Ironman World Championships. I have come within one place of that opportunity but I am still working towards it. In order to get there, I will have other goals and markers to help define the 2019 season. As training unfolds this winter, I will develop a goal and plan for the Boston Marathon. My goals work in ways to keep me focused. It’s easy to just say I want to run or race well. But understanding what it means to run or race well is more important. Does that mean not walking during a race, executing a plan to the best of my abilities, or setting a new best? It can mean all of those. By creating different benchmark outcomes for the same race, I will continue to be positive and will continue to work towards a desired outcome no matter the conditions. I ran in the Boston Marathon this year and for any of you that don’t know, we had historically bad weather. But, having different goals in mind helped me stay focused and push through to the end. I could walk away from the race, albeit frozen and wet, knowing that I had achieved several things I set out to do.

Each time I think of what I want to get out of a particular workout, day, race, or season, I’m reminded of a quote on the walls of a former school. “Your goal should be out of reach but not out of sight.” Reach for something greater. Learn to accept your failures as learning experiences. These helps us learn more about what we are capable of doing and how to improve. With a fierce determination, set out to achieve your goals, break through, and set new ones as you continue on to newer and greater heights.