I've got a half marathon coming up on Sunday, and I've got a sore achilles tendon. So I've been resting a lot this week, which has made me feel kind of ornery and blobby. I don't like resting.
I also have a wonderful friend who sent me this helpful article on preventing common running injuries. It has some good examples of exercises you can do every day to strengthen the muscles that usually get hurt while running to prevent getting sidelined. I've already started doing some of them and I hope they work!
And thinking about muscle injury prevention made me start thinking about goal injury prevention, and the things I can do every day to protect my goals just like I should protect my muscles. The same things that happen to our muscles - strain, overuse, or just bad form - can jeopardize our goals, so I came up with these strategies to keep myself in check:
1. Stretch, don't strain! Stretch goals motivate me because I like to challenge myself to do more. But creating too many unrealistic goals is just a good way to make sure you get a lot of things done just half-way and don't ever really achieve anything great for yourself. I have a tendency to make unrealistic goals in the hopes that they will motivate me to be more amazing, but really they just make me mediocre. I say go for a stretch goal! A stretch goal. Singular.
2. Don't overtrain! Just like muscles, goals need a rest sometimes. It can be liberating to go for a period of time without a goal, even. I usually last about five minutes in that environment, but I think it is important to give your brain and your body a rest. Once you've achieved a goal, just live in that success for a while before jumping right back into something new. A friend of mine once called it, "goal fatigue." Give your goals some more time in the spotlight before replacing them with something bigger and better!
3. Use good form! As you'll remember, effective goals are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound. Apply these criteria to any goals you make and it is really hard to go wrong. This also applies to the environment you create for your goals to live in. Are you creating environments where you can thrive, or expecting your goal to rise above unrealistic circumstances? Are you going into each situation with a clear head and focused on a successful outcome or just hoping for the best?
2011 is a year of excellence, I can feel it. My goals are coming true and yours can too! Just make sure to protect them, strengthen them, and keep them safe from injury.
Your brain is a pretty powerful muscle, too. Use it!