When my husband, Jeff, decided he wanted to complete an Ironman we knew we needed a proven training plan. Sure, he could just build on his running background, start cycling, and ramp up the swimming. We could go at it on our own. After all, we knew the Ironman date and distances: July 26th, a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishing up by running 26.2 miles (a full marathon).

A couple background notes: An Ironman is all completed in one day, starting at 7:00 a.m. and finishing before 12:00 midnight. You don’t get a day to complete each section. You don’t even rest between the swim, bike, and run. If you are not on pace and do not complete certain portions of the race before set times, then you’re pulled from the race. You’re done. Months of training and you don’t get to complete the race.

Committing and competing in a race like this has some BIG similarities to business. We’ve heard that business is a marathon, not a sprint, but I contend that it’s both!

Ironman Goals & Business

Jeff’s goal was to complete an Ironman. He wanted to complete his first Ironman, stay uninjured, and have fun! When he committed to the race date, there was a lot on the line. There’s the entry fee, travel, time from work, lodging, plus the months and months of time commitment dedicated to training for the event.

Using Michael Hyatt’s goal setting framework (typically for business), let’s compare it to Jeff’s Ironman goal.

I’d say that committing to the Ironman hit the nail on the head, checking off those SMARTER guidelines!

Setting goals like this is exciting. I was excited, Jeff was excited, family and friends were excited! We put the date on the calendar, cast the invitation for people to join us at the event, and I got busy finding lodging. (This is September; the event is the following July.)

There’s an initial wave of excitement when we committed to our goal of the Ironman.

That giddiness quickly gave way to the realities of this long-term commitment and the time training it demanded.

Mapping Out a Plan

Mirroring the excitement of setting our business goals the first of the year, excitement and motivation can quickly wane as days progress. Life starts to happen. Demands on our time increase, there’s a constant tugging for our attention.

When I saw Jeff jump full on into training in September for the event the following July, trying to decipher what to do, how much to do, and when to do it, I quickly determined that there was a need for a proven training plan. Without a proven training regime Jeff was creating his own. Turns out he was overtraining 8 months early!

I found a training regimen/plan that had Jeff “officially” starting training November 11th for the event the following July.

In this training program there were specific ‘benchmarks’ he needed to reach. There were also rest days built in. Both of these were KEY to maintaining this long-term training commitment. He wanted to complete the Ironman and stay healthy/uninjured.

This relates to our business goals in two ways:

  1. We need ‘benchmarks’.
  2. We need to build in rest days.

Both of these must be scheduled if we’re to stay healthy for the long run.

Jeff’s benchmarks were set for specific time periods in his journey. Our benchmarks in business need to be set for specific time periods too in order to keep us motivated.

Quarterly Planning

If your fiscal year follows the calendar year, some built in benchmarks are quarters. Breaking down you bigger goal into quarters AND setting yourself time aside to check in on, and reassess, your goal(s) will help to keep you on track.

When we schedule time at the end of Q1, Q2, and Q3, we’re intentionally prioritizing our business goals instead of letting other things tug at our attention and get us off track. We can also take advantage of this time to nab some R&R! Treat yourself to a quarterly planning retreat, even if it’s a staycation. The important thing is to block the time out.

“What gets scheduled, gets done”

Michael Hyatt

CEO, Michael Hyatt & Co.

If you’d like a Q1 tool to help you with your goal setting and forward movement, download this handy guide for free!

If you’re running a business, especially if you’re leading a team, setting goals is a vital part of your plan. Creating and setting goals motivated your team, gives them purpose, direction, and focus, and allows you to delegate so you don’t have to do it all.

Myself and many family/friends were Jeff’s Ironman “team”. We all celebrated when he achieved his goal. He set the goal, we helped get his there.

Like a true leader, he graciously and vehemently gave his support crew many kudos and much praise for helping accomplish his goal. His sharing kudos and celebrating with us, his “team”, meant so very much, just as it does when you as a business leader celebrate accomplishments with your team.

Jeff’s acknowledgement of our sacrifices and support meant so much. So much, in fact, that he signed up for another…