A masterclass in goal setting.

APRIL 6TH, 2018.
We introduced our brand ambassador, Karina Kaufmann, earlier this year. Wife, mother of four daughters, Scientist, Doctor and Professional Coach, Karina is also a competitive athlete, competing internationally as a member of Team GB.
The next few weeks will be very focused as Karina has just qualified for this year’s European and World Championship Duathlons  – to take place in Ibiza and Denmark respectively.
 We checked in with our Ambassador to discuss goal setting, motivation and managing so many factors efficiently for peak performance.
Karina Kaufmann qualifies for World Championships

Congratulations on your dual qualifications, Karina – what a great achievement!

Tell us about past goals have you set yourself in the past and gone on to achieve?

“I’ve set goals in all my various paths in life.
I clearly remember, when I was younger, finishing school was a massive goal for me – I really struggled! At Uni, I developed more self-confidence and set myself a goal of a first-class Honors degree. I followed this with another massive goal – to complete my PhD in the allotted 3 years.
Since then, I’ve set personal goals like travelling to unusual countries including Peru, Mongolia and Sri Lanka, wedding planning, creating a new home for me and James and then starting, growing and nurturing a family. Exploring new career avenues has been on my plate over the years too.
Of course, I have also had sporting goals – starting with can I run for 10 mins? Then my first triathlon, teaching my girls to ski and racing at competitive levels.

I also set myself smaller and sometimes no less important goals; growing my own vegetables, learning to crochet… the list goes on…”

And what key goals are ahead of you?

“Bringing up my girls to be responsible, emotionally intelligent and kind people – that’s the massive one!
I want to achieve top 10 status at the Worlds in Duathlon and Triathlon.
Develop a career/business that is interesting, challenging and creative and that also fits into my other massive ‘jobs’ as a mother, wife, member of my community and athlete.”
Karina Kaufmann qualifies for World Championships

Is there a way you’d recommend for setting a goal?

“The way I start is split up my ‘page’ into short, mid and long-term sections. This helps me order the way I think of my goals and makes the entire process more palatable. It’s possible that different parts of one goal fall into all three ‘time’ sections. Rome wasn’t built in a day – even though I’m probably one of the most impatient people you might ever meet!

I always favour a stepwise process that can be linked a bit like a flow chart. Then I order my goals, some are more important than others. Some may even be accessible immediately but have to be put on the back burner due to the pecking order I set.”

“Goals then need to be phrased so that they are achievable.

When I was working as a Doula (childbirth companion), one of the most valuable lessons that I could impart to a mum and dad-to-be was, “set yourself up for success.” We never wrote ‘birth plans’ like other pregnant mums/Doulas. Instead, we wrote ‘birth preferences.’ This was very important to me and the mums because it meant we set birth goals and then laid out pathways to achieve these in a way that meant that if one option was in the moment unachievable, we were well-informed and could take another acceptable pathway that would give us a successful outcome.

I suppose some goals can be easy to meet and tick off, others just require more elbow grease… it’s good to identify those early!

It is also really important in racing that I set goals that are independent of my competition.  For example, when I tried to qualify for the 2018/19 World Duathlon Championships, my goal wasn’t to win, take a specific podium place or beat ‘X’.  This would involve factors that were out of my control. Instead, I set race day goals that I could control, knowing that I had trained and prepared as best as I could.”

Karina Kaufmann with friends from CC London (Cycle Club).

How important are other people to the setting and accomplishment of a goal?

“I constantly reassess how much help with any given goal I need from others. I used to think that asking for help or receiving help externally was a form of weakness on my part. I know differently now! I really love to do everything myself and I know I’m not the best at asking for help!  I obviously need to check that I have the help and support around me that I need; that is most certainly from my husband and children, parents, friends, coach and others within my community!  I almost always run my goals past James (my husband) to sanity check them!  My sporting goals all go through my sporting community/friends/coach to ensure I get the right help with training, race support and really important emotional support. This is probably one of the most important areas for me.

Knowing I have that support backing me helps me to push on and achieve my goals.  My coach will set me the right sessions and get me ready just at the right time for a race. My sporting friends will keep me honest and encourage me to stick to my training, even when I don’t feel like it or the weather is rotten. Being accountable is very valuable to me.”

What advise can you give for tracking progress towards a goal?

“Try to break each goal down into its smallest possible components and tackle each and every one of them. Personally, I love lists….so everything gets ticked off. All those little steps are worked on via a timeline that helps it all flow together. Rewarding yourself for completing a task is also really important. We all respond well to rewards and success – I always look for the positive in an action.  I’m often found talking about “silver linings” because when you are looking for something good you are less focused on negative feelings that can bring you down and dampen your enthusiasm.

I like data; it could be better race times or more power or lower heart rates whilst training or racing. It could be how happy my girls are around the house. Keeping a log or record of my training and feelings also help me track where I have been, what I am doing and what I have achieved.”

Karina Kaufmann qualifies for World Championships

We all suffer setbacks. How do you tackle yours?

“I cry.”

“I can get very emotional – I think it’s because I care so much when I invest my time in something… that could be my vegetables in the garden, a craft project or even my training and racing!  Once that stage is over – and the raw emotion is gone – I can then apply a technique that I learnt from my daughters! A setback or fail can be perceived as a negative experience – but they’ve taught me that FAIL isn’t what we think of it.

FAIL can mean “First Attempt In Learning” and this actually fits into my “looking for the silver lining” approach. It’s definitely worth the time to calmly break down what might have gone wrong (and how to alter/fix or do it differently next time).  Look for what went well so that when you have a second go at something – even with a different approach – you have some positive feelings to hold onto.

At the end of the day, sometimes it’s tough.  In racing, you don’t win by just being the strongest or the fastest or having the best kit.  You need mental grit!  Sometimes the winners just have sheer bloody-mindedness!”


What three things can we take from your goal-setting experience and apply to other walks of life?

Be the best you can be. My Grandmother always taught me that if I had tried my hardest then I couldn’t ask more of myself.

Celebrate the good times because there are going to be tough bits and hard times and this helps you get through.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses (and plan accordingly).”

Karina Kaufmann in training for World Championships.

Thank you, Karina, for sharing your experience of goal setting and we wish you all the very best success in your preparations for the Worlds!