It’s important to figure out what you want to achieve and chose which type of goals will help you achieve it. There are process, performance, and outcome goals. There are short term and long term goals. There are team and individual and team goals. Let’s not forget about SMART goals. This list is by no means an exhaustive list but you get the picture. Your process goals will be geared towards improving or addressing specific techniques or skills. Your performance goals are focused on your complete athletic performance. Outcome goals are goals that reflect overall statistics and records, like win/loss records for the season. You have more control over your process and performance goals than outcome goals. Outcome goals also depend on outside factors such as opponents, referees, and the like. You can use short term goals as guideposts while progressing towards a long term goal. My favorite goal is the SMART goal. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable/adjustable, realistic, and time specific. I think that fleshing out your goals using these requirements give you a clearer understanding of exactly what you are working towards. Last but not least, we have individual goals and team goals. Ideally, we would want individual goals to coincide with the team goals. Some people may want to set up a long term goal for the academic year and set short term goals for each grading period. Some people may set process goals that coincide with the team goal. See how they can go together? Once you figure out which goals or combination of goals will work for what you will try to achieve, it’s time to focus on the most important part of how to actually go about achieving said goals.
We make goals all the time. “I will eat this whole pizza” or “I will be on time for real this time” are some examples. A goal is one of those things we like to say but have a harder time actually executing. We need to make action verbs are a part of goal setting and attainment. When you set a goal, set action verbs that will actively get you to your goal. So, if your goal is to become faster, include action verbs like “train” or “manage” or “adjust”. This will give you proactive things to do to while working toward your goal. Also include an action plan. Come up with and write out daily actions you will do to achieve your goal. The more you spell out HOW you will achieve your goal, the easier you process can become. Come up with actions as well as challenges that will keep you progressing towards your goal. Every day, you should be actively doing something to contribute to your goal. These everyday actions become habits which will help you get closer your goal. Another big part of goal attainment is making sure you actually use these action verbs. This is called accountability.
Accountability. Accountability and action. These two will get you pretty far in your goal process. Whether you hold yourself accountable (takes a certain level of discipline and motivation) or hold yourself accountable to others who have been made aware of your goals, how much you take responsibility for your progress and success is vital. Accountability is being able to look at your goal progress and acknowledging that you are either doing all you can do or that you can do some things better in order to achieve this goal. Accountability is keeping you on track when it would be easier to give up on your goal. Accountability to yourself, your team, your family, or whomever sometimes can be one of the only things to keep us going. When this accountability and action work together, you will set yourself up for a better goal attainment experience. We say goals all the time. We achieve goals a lot less frequently because we don’t have that accountability and action.
Goal setting and attainment might seem like a very simple and common sense aspect of athletics. It can be so much more if you use your goals to your advantage. Goals aren’t just hopeful statements. Goals are motivators. They are refocusing tools. They are guideposts along the way to greater goals. When we treat goals and active agents of change to our athletic performance, we can value and invest in them more. Don’t just keep your goal in your head and hold it hostage. Put that goal up in your locker, on your mirror at home, the refrigerator, or any other obvious place you look at every day. Your goals were not created to be left unnoticed. They were created for you to be a better version of yourself both on and off the field. So as you set out on the new year, prepare for the season, or get ready for off season training think about taking some time to set goals that challenge but don’t discourage you. Goals that include action verbs in the process. Goals that you will be accountable for. #FlexThatMentalMuscle
Some Tips for Goal Setting:
- Take time to clearly define your goal
- Decide if you will need one goal or a combination of goals
- Know yourself well enough to know if you can do this on your own or if you should find an accountability partner to keep you on track
- Treat your goal as a part of your training and not just words on paper
- Your goal is a full time commitment
- Do not be afraid to adjust your goal if needed
- Make sure there are visible and even tangible reminders of your goals
- Know what you will do once your goal is achieved
- Make working toward your goal a part of your daily routine