The Gift of Goals

Amy Larson Coaching Boulder CO setting goals

I set many goals for myself for the summer of 2018.  I wanted to spend lots of time with my family,  go on some fun trips,  and spend as much time as possible outside enjoying Boulder’s beauty.  One goal that stands out for me, is completing the Rim to Rim hike.  It’s a 24-mile hike into, across and out of the Grand Canyon – in one day.

I knew this hike would push me out of my comfort zone in several ways. I’ve never been one to set physical goals for myself outside of trying to make it to a yoga class by Friday or to go running once this week. In fact, I would say one of my lifelong goals has been to avoid exerting myself too much in any given day.  So this hike was a big, hairy, audacious goal for me. It was scary, daunting and exhilarating. And I knew this was the perfect opportunity to push myself out of my physical and mental comfort zone.


There are five essential elements to effective goal setting summarized in the acronym SMART.   Hiking the Rim to Rim was a SMART goal for me for several reasons:

1) It was Specific

Dropping down into the Grand Canyon and getting out before sunset is a very clear and specific goal.

2) It was Measurable

This goal was measurable for me in many ways. I knew the actual date I was doing the hike, and the amount of time I had to train.  I knew how much ground I needed to cover, the elevation change and temperatures I was going to encounter.  It was clear what was required of me to arrive at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by sunset.

3) It had inherent Accountability

18 other people were committed to doing this hike with me in mid-September. We supported and motivated each other throughout our summer training hikes. I was not going to back out of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this. I wanted to experience this incredible adventure with my close friends.  And I knew that this group would support and inspire me to keep training all summer long. We were all in this together.

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Focus on Your Strengths

Amy Larson Blog Strengths

One of my signature strengths is curiosity. I think it is the reason I became a coach. I absolutely love to explore and discover new ideas and concepts with my clients. Every coaching session is unique and I always learn something new about my client (and myself).

I begin each coaching engagement by assessing my client’s strengths. We all have them, and if asked, most people have a fairly good idea what their top strengths are – honesty, kindness, teamwork, forgiveness, love – just to name a few.

Harness Your Strengths

But embracing them, and knowing when to harness them, is a very different thing. We tend to take our strengths for granted. After all, they come easily to us – hence the name “strength.” We tend to use them without thinking. They are our lifeblood in many situations.

And, what if they were taken away from us? What if your top strength is honesty and you were told you couldn’t tell the truth or present yourself in an authentic way for a month? You couldn’t tell your child how much you enjoyed his performance in the school play or express your sincere interest in how your friend’s sick parent is doing or tell someone how sorry you are for that snide comment you just made. How would that feel? I would say excruciating.

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