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Today we’ll be talking about SMARTER goal setting again. This time however, we’ll be looking at a recent example in elite athletics.
For those of you who don’t know, the Tour De France is being conducted right now. This a 3-week bike race which covers about 2,000 miles in and around France. Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong stated before the race that this would be his final Tour De France, and that he hoped to go out on top, i.e., win the race.
Remember a SMART goal setting plan looks like this: (my thoughts after)
Specific — Win the Tour De France. This is specific. Very good.
Measurable — You win or you don’t. The numbers/times don’t lie.
Action-Oriented — Competing in the event. He’s focused his attention on winning this race and not some other one.
Realistic — He’s won 7. Winning is a very realistic option.
Time-Sensitive — Win this year, as this will be his last chance.
Going into this event, there was no reason to expect anything less than victory. Armstrong has an excellent record and history in this event and as best we know, he is healthy.
However after some early trouble, including a flat tire, several crashes and general “bad luck,” winning the tour no longer seemed so realistic. Armstrong was more than 15 minutes behind the leader, not exactly a position to challenge for the win. This is where the ER part of SMARTER comes in.
According to Armstrong’s team manager, Johan Bruyneel, Lance’s new goal changed from winning the tour, to winning a stage instead. You can see some more details in this article.
We’ll analyze this decision below. Looking at the ER part of SMARTER.
Evaluate — He is 15+ minutes behind. Baring a miracle, winning the tour is just not realistic anymore. Perhaps he should change his goal. There is nothing wrong with that. We’re just playing the cards we were dealt.
Recreate — Perhaps something more realistic would be winning a stage. This would give him something to work for, and he could feel a sense of accomplishment if he succeeds. So try winning a stage, rather than the tour.
This is excellent. Once he realized winning the tour might not be so realistic, he adjusted his goals accordingly. We can all learn from this. If something is too hard or too easy, don’t sweat it, just focus on something more realistic. You’ll feel more satisfaction than if you stuck with the other goal. It will be exciting to see if Lance can reach his new goal.
Until next time, keep on building that superior mind.