​​Going the Distance

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​After taking multiple years off, I am once again training for a half marathon. I used to run fairly frequently. In fact, roughly 10 years ago, I was running two half marathons per year. However, since that time, due to various factors, I stopped running as often. Over time, I have come to realize just how much I have missed running — hence, my efforts to get back into it.

Growing up, I was not a runner. Truth is, I did not enjoy running at all. Thinking back, it is hard to remember what persuaded me to decide to run a half marathon in the first place. When I began training for my first half marathon, I really didn't get much pleasure out of it, but I stuck to it, because I had shared with multiple people that I was training for a half marathon and I didn't want to c​ome back and tell them differently. However, over time, I realized that I actually liked it, and it was on the days that I didn't run that I didn't feel so well.

At this point, you may be questioning what this has to do with internal auditing. A couple of years ago, I blogged about the role that goal-setting plays in helping position internal auditors to achieve what we want both professionally and personally. And with the half marathon training heavy on my mind with six weeks to go before my upcoming run, I am once again thinking about how important goal-setting is — particularly if I want to be able to finish this run — to help auditors reach our desired levels of success.

A few things that come to mind when I think about goal-setting include:

  • Visualizing exactly what it is you want to achieve. From a half marathon perspective, I am picturing myself crossing the finish line.
  • Breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller substeps to allow for small victories along the way. I have a training plan that breaks out the number of runs and mileage per week to keep me on track and build up to the 13.1-mile distance.
  • Identifying the obstacles that could prevent you from achieving your goal and then developing plans to minimize the impact of those obstacles. I do my best early mornings — as the day goes on, it is easy for me to find excuses — so I typically get up and run before I go to work.
  • Communicating your goal to one or more people. Not only does this help hold us accountable to actually doing what we said we were going to do, but it also can position us to have some cheerleaders along the way. I've shared my half marathon plans with family, friends, co-workers, and now all of you.
  • Getting started. In reality, sometimes this is the hardest part.
  • Measuring and tracking where you are and what is working and what is not. In some cases, you may need to go back to the drawing board to reevaluate the substeps to determine whether something else may work better for you.
  • Realizing that if we fall off track, it isn't the end of the world. Evaluate why you fell off track and then get back on.
  • Having fun in the process. Sometimes we focus so much on the daunting task in front of us that we forget to enjoy the journey. If this is you, remember why you are doing it and try to enjoy it.
  • And, after reaching that milestone that you set for yourself — CELEBRATE!

As I write this, I'm getting more excited about my upcoming half marathon. To me, there is an immense feeling of satisfaction to achieving something that at one time seemed intimidating and unrealistic. So whether your goal is a half marathon, a stretch job assignment, a new position, or something else entirely, go for it and have fun while you do it. Wish me luck in my upcoming run!

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.​

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