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Goal Achievement: How to Write & Achieve Your Sports Goals

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

CHUNKING DOWN YOUR DREAMS
There are thousands of people with 'dreams' - but only a handful ever make them into reality. How do they do it? Simply, by just:

  1. Committing to their dream - by deciding to do it
  2. Regularly and consistently imagining achieving it
  3. Turning the dream into specific, focused goals
  4. Establishing a step-wise action plan to make it happen.

In the last issue, I spoke about the importance of making a committed decision about your goals, because the only thing that will keep you going when the going gets tough - that will get you up early and working late at night - is a dream, focused into a set of specific goals and action plans. The only thing that will keep you fighting to win when it's five games to one and match point against you, and it's hot and you're tired, is a dream. The only thing that will keep you out there in the cold and rain at training, when you're soaking wet and uncomfortable, is a dream. The only thing that will get you up and pushing forward to make another tackle in the last minutes of the game when you're body is bruised and tired, is a dream. Nothing else will.

WHY DON'T PEOPLE SET GOALS?
Recently, I was invited to give a Sportsmind presentation to a group of aspiring young athletes who had just been selected as the best in their sport in their region, and were being inducted into an elite sports training academy. One of the first questions I asked them was how many of them had written down goals. The answer ..... five out of sixty! And these kids were supposedly the great sporting hopes for the region!

I then asked the question: "Well, why don't people set goals?" They answered with the four most common reasons:

  1. The 'couldn't be bothered' response; the deadly apathetic malaise.
  2. The 'don't want to appear different from peers' response - a typically Australian disease.
  3. The fear of failure - if I don't set a goal, then I can't fail at getting it.
  4. The fear of success - how responsible/guilty/afraid I'd feel if I was incredibly successful.

I wonder if I asked you to show me your written down goals for the next six months, twelve months, and three to five years ...... would you have anything to show me? If not, why not? Are any of the responses above applicable to you in your sport, career, and life?

POWER OF GOALS
You know, a lot of athletes train very hard in the belief that it's hard training that leads inevitably to success. They read about how their idols train; they copy their gym routines and dietary habits; they do everything physically that they do, believing that if they train hard and do all the things that the top performers do - then they'll also succeed.
But it doesn't work that way! The breaks go to the people with dreams and specific goals. You want to have a dream, a goal. Somehow, the dream itself provides the motivation and the means for its own accomplishment.

Every serious sportsperson today knows of the importance of setting goals. However, achieving significant goals in sport, particularly at an elite level, involves more than just the process of setting them. Achieving big goals is a personal management process involving setting a goal, breaking it down into smaller sub-goals, determining a viable action plan, implementing this plan, evaluating progress, adjusting the plan, celebrating achievement, and finally choosing a new goal.

There is power in knowing what you want, and in committing yourself to achieve it, and this is especially true in sport. Champions in every area of life are consistent goal setters and planners. Realise that in six months, you're going to become some one. In a year, you'll be doing some thing. In five years, you're going to be playing at some standard in your sport. In ten years, you're going to be earning some level of income. Why leave these things to chance, or to the whims of the environment, or someone else's plans? Why not decide - right now - who you're going to be, what you're going to be doing, and what you're going to have - in twelve months, five years, and ten years from now?

OUTCOME AND PROCESS GOALS
There are two types of goals that you want to be aware of : outcome goals, and process goals. Outcome goals are the end result: winning a match; hitting a bogey free golf round; running under a specific time; being selected for the national team; etc. Process goals are the specific actions, behaviours, moods, and mental processes required to achieve the desired outcome. In recent years, many people have suggested that it is wrong to set and think abut outcome goals; that we ought focus upon and set just process goals.

However both goals are important to success, because without a clearly defined and desired outcome, motivation flags and there can be a loss of direction. What is important is knowing when to focus on outcome and when to focus on process. For instance, consider a journey. At the beginning of the journey you think of your destination - where you want to end up. Then you get in the car and pay attention to the traffic around you; stop at lights and intersections; change gears; accelerate; turn corners; refuel when necessary; and deal with delays and flat tyres along the way. Now just imagine if you didn't have that destination in mind at the start - what would happen? You'd just hop in the car and start driving, and you might drive extremely well, but you'd end up going nowhere in particular.

Focusing on process goals alone is like that. You want to have a desired outcome and not be afraid of setting it, and going for it. However you also want to have a means by which you're going to get your outcome - and these are your process goals.

Generally, the time to think about outcome goals is prior to and after a performance; the time to focus on process goals is during a performance. For instance, on your journey you'll have an accident if you think too much about the hot date you're doing to visit, but if you don't want that hot date in the first place, you'll probably never get the car out of the garage!

SETTING GOALS
There are FOUR areas in which you will want to set goals for yourself :

  1. SPORTS TECHNIQUES (Eg. Ball skills; Stroke; Swing; the skills of your sport)
  2. PHYSICAL FITNESS (Eg. Strength; Speed; Endurance; Agility; Power; Flexibility; etc)
  3. MENTAL & EMOTIONAL FITNESS (Eg. Concentration; Positive Attitude; Confidence; Self Control; Motivation; etc.)
  4. RELATIONSHIPS (Coach; Teammates; Game Officials; Opposition; Friends; Self)

First identify your current abilities, then list the areas you want to improve:
My strengths are: ................................................................................................
Areas I want to improve are: .............................................................................

Now ask yourself :
# How/where do I want to be in six months from now?
# How/where do I want to be in twelve months from now?
# How/where do I want to be in three to five years from now?

Now on a sheet of paper, write down your three most important 6 month, 12 month, 3-5 years, and long term outcome goals. Set goals in all areas of your life, as well as for your sport: career goals; financial goals; study goals; etc. Take fifteen minutes to do this now. As you do this now, remember is that most people over-estimate what they can practically achieve in a year, yet greatly under-estimate what they can achieve in ten years, or over their lifetime.

Also, you want to set yourself goals that are almost out of reach; goals that require great physical, emotional and mental efforts to achieve. Remember that if you aim for mediocre goals, that's likely what you'll achieve. If you aim for greatness, you may well reach it. But you'll never know your true potential and untapped talents until you really test yourself.

REASONS AND ACTION PLANS
Now write a paragraph on why you want to achieve each of these goals; what are the reasons for wanting them? How would you feel if you didn't achieve them - what would you miss out on? And how are you going to feel when you do achieve each one? Having powerful reasons to achieve your goals can make all the difference. Finally, note the action steps, or process goals, you're going to do today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. to achieve them. 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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SMARTER Goals: How to Make Your Goals Achievable

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

S.M.A.R.T.E.R. GOALS
I think it's important to note that just writing down your goals is not enough, because some people will have a dream, chunk it down into specific goals, and even write them down - and yet still not achieve them. The reason this happens is that they didn't know how to set, and work with, their goals properly. For your goals to be effective they will want to adhere to the following seven S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal achieving principles. If your goals adhere to these simple principles, you will definitely achieve them. If they don't, chances are you won't get there.

S = Specific and measurable
M = 'Me' focused - controllable by myself
A = Achievable
R = Reviewed regularly
T = Timed
E = Ecological - consider 'whole' self
R = Reasons and Reward

Some people don't set goals at all; others set them, but don't write them down; still others write them down, but don't know how to work with them effectively. These S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting principles provide an easy and practical method of defining precisely what you want, a checking system to make sure your goals are achievable and in line with your current beliefs and values, and a mechanism for ensuring you follow through with them. As we go through them one at a time, check the goals you've written to ensure they meet the criteria - if they don't, then alter them so they do.

S = Specific and measurable
Ensure your goals are specific and measurable. What precisely do you want? Rather than writing "I want to get better at tennis", or "I want to lose weight", or "I want to play well in the game this weekend", identify the specific level you want to attain. Some examples might be: "To be a trim and toned 75kg"; "To reduce my golf handicap by 3 strokes"; "To achieve 70% of my first services in court"; "To earn $80,000 this financial year".

M = 'Me' focused - controllable by myself
Your goals want to be controllable by yourself. Goals such as "I want to marry X", or "I want my son to be a concert pianist", or even "I'm going to win the golf tournament", are not under your control. X might not want to marry you, your son may not want to become a concert pianist, and winning is a result of how well you, and your opponents, play, on the day.

More controllable goals would be: "I'm going to ask X out on a date" (you can control your asking - not their going); or "I'm going to provide my son with the opportunities and encouragement to become a concert pianist"; or "I'm going to hit 79 or better today", (which if everyone else plays about to their handicap, will see me win the tournament).
It's important to recognise that you can't control winning - but you can control your level of effort, your enthusiasm, your concentration, and your attitude. So some people suggest that rather than focusing on the outcome, (winning), you direct all your attention to the process, (the means by which you will win). While I agree on the importance of paying attention to the process, I do think it's also important to still want to win, and to aim to win. I think both are equally important, because athletes, managers, or salespeople who just focus on the 'process' alone in their goal setting, lose the necessary hunger, the edge that makes a champion performer. This edge comes from the desire to win. So you want to win, yet you also want to focus on the means by which you will win - the skills and techniques that you employ to hit straight down the fairway, or make a sale, or resolve a conflict, or coach a team, or whatever.

A = Achievable
A is for achievable. Make your goals achievable from where you are now. For instance, if you're currently playing B grade tennis, it's not very realistic to set a goal to win the U.S. Open this year - you'd just be setting yourself up for a failure. However, if you're a hot young teenage tennis player with a lot of motivation and the desire to reach the top, then setting such a goal for say six or seven years time, might very well be achievable - provided you're willing to put in the effort. Assess your current abilities and set a goal enough beyond yourself to challenge you and make you want to work toward it, but not something way beyond your current ability, or too easy, or you'll just get discouraged, or bored. As a general rule if you can't 'see' yourself achieving a goal, then you probably won't, so aim for something a bit smaller, then when you reach that, shoot for the bigger one.

R = Reviewed regularly
It's important to remember to regularly review your goals. Build a positive expectation of success by regularly thinking about your goals, and imagining what it will be like to achieve them. Whatever it is that you're aiming for, write it on a sheet of paper - make up a colourful poster, and even include photos and drawings if you want - and put it on the ceiling above your bed, or on the back of the toilet door, or on the fridge door, or on your briefcase, or in your wallet, or in all these places. The more you start thinking of yourself as already having the goal, or already the way you want to be, the faster you will make it happen.

Look at your list of written goals at least once every day. Preferably, spend five minutes first thing in the morning, and last thing at night to briefly think about them. This both sets the tone for your whole day by giving you a strong sense of direction right from the moment you wake up, and allows your unconscious resources to provide you with inspiration and ideas as you sleep. I also recommend writing your goals on small palm cards, (about the size of a business card), and carrying them with you throughout the day. Then if you get stuck in traffic, or in a queue at the bank, rather than feeling angry and frustrated, you can use the time productively to think about and imagine achieving them! There are no 'idle' thoughts - every thought plants the seed of a step on the way to achieving what you want in your life. Cultivate a constructive obsession for your goals; think about them; dream about them; want them.

T = Timed
T stands for setting a specific time or target date by which you will achieve the goal. If you don't do this it's too easy to just keep putting it off to 'one day'. Goals have been called 'dreams with a deadline', so set a timeline for your achieving each of your goals. Some examples of specific, timed goals might be: "To swim an Olympic qualifying time in the 100m freestyle at the national titles next month"; "To buy a new house by the end of the year"; "To attain my brown belt by the end of the year"; or "To win a major golf tournament within five years".

E = Ecological - consider your 'whole' self
Personal ecology is a concept that recognises that you are a complex organism, made up of different 'parts'. If these parts of yourself get into conflict, then you're not going to function optimally. Ecology means being responsible to your whole self, when you set and work toward your goals. This means consider the other things that are important in your life, or that you have responsibility for. For example, relationships, work, family, study, and relaxation. Denying a part of yourself to achieve a goal will only lead to self sabotage, as the part of you that is denied manifests periods of lethargy or unmotivation; excessive nervousness in important competitions; lapses in concentration at crucial moments, or recurrent injuries.

This is one reason why some people don't achieve a particular goal - there is a part of them that doesn't really want it to happen, and so it sabotages their performance. For instance, you might set yourself a goal to represent your country in your sport, then as you put more and more time into training, and are away from home more and more frequently, that part of you that needs and values the emotional support of a relationship feels denied, and 'out of the blue' you suddenly get sick, or injure yourself, just before an important selection trial, and miss out on selection. Or after playing really well all season, you have a form slump and put in a pathetic performance - just when the selectors are watching! This type of thing happens so often in sport, it's no accident! It's a result of pushing yourself, rather than working with yourself in achieving goals. This is why it's so important when setting your goals to really listen to yourself - to pay attention to your feelings.

E also stands for empower yourself by giving yourself permission to achieve your goals, and know that you're worthy of them. Sometimes, on the verge of success, people sabotage their performance because their self concept is not large enough to accept success. Enlarge your self concept by continually affirming to yourself that you are worthy of success and high achievement - you are worthy of being called a champion in your chosen sport, or career.

R = Reasons and Reward
The final key in the SMARTER process of goal achieving is to have powerful reasons for achieving a goal, and to reward yourself when you achieve a goal, or a significant milestone along the way to a goal. It's a very useful exercise to consider why you want to achieve a particular goal - what are your personal reasons underlying your desire for it? Having powerful reasons for achieving a goal can make a world of difference in your ability to achieve it - especially when the going gets tough.

At the Aikido Dojo that I attend there is a quietly spoken, petite woman who is about fifty years old. This woman is also a second Dan black belt, and is an incredible inspiration for us all, because she took up Aikido in her forties, and maintained the discipline, courage and determination through injuries and setbacks, to attain not only a black belt, but her second Dan black belt - which could be likened to the difference between a Bachelor's degree and a Masters! When asked why she took up Aikido, and why she maintains her training, her reply was simple, yet very powerful: "I wanted to feel dangerous", she said! Here we have a small, middle aged woman who at first glance would be a pushover to even a teenage mugger - yet who in reality is a very dangerous woman indeed!

Finally, do reward yourself when you achieve a goal, or a significant milestone along the way to a goal. Even for small goals, give yourself a reward. If you give up cigarettes for a month, or even a week - be proud of the accomplishment. If you eat healthily, and limit your alcohol intake, then tell yourself you've done well today. See how many DFDs (Drug Free Days) you can put together in a row. Recognise that things like alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and other so called 'recreational' drugs dull your senses, and blunt the keen edge needed to perform at your best. They're for losers. Champions may not all be teetotallers, but I've rarely seen one that smokes, drinks to excess, or is addicted to coffee or marijuana. They also eat healthy food - recognising that their body is a superbly tuned engine, and their health is their greatest asset.

Do something special, just for yourself, when you achieve a major goal; celebrate your successes, because this will build the motivation and confidence to go for the next goal, and the next. The more you set up a positive feedback loop, the more your system will want to continue to set goals, and achieve them. If you don't reward yourself, you won't build the positive goal setting habits that are a part of every champion's behaviour.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Thinking SMARTEST

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

Introduction

Ever noticed how some things seem to get repeated over and over, said again and again by different motivational speakers, without being improved on? I've lost count of the number of times I've heard or read the SMART principles in goal setting (your goals want to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) - yet to those who understand the NLP concept of a well formed outcome, the SMART principles aren't that smart at all, and are missing a lot of key information.

Hence I've developed the SMARTEST principles, which I hope after numerous repetitions (by people who simply copy others and don't actually think for themselves), will eventually be replaced by the EVEN SMARTER principles!

Being SMARTEST
For your goals to be effective they will want to adhere to the following eight S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. goal achieving principles. If your goals adhere to these simple principles, you will definitely achieve them. If they don't, chances are you won't get there. I've found these seven principles particularly important when working with athletes

S = Specific and measurable
M = 'Me' focused - controllable by myself
A = Achievable
R = Reasons
T = Timed
E = Ecological - consider 'whole' self
S = Strategy or action plan
T = Thought about regularly

Some people don't set goals at all; others set them, but don't write them down; still others write them down, but don't know how to work with them effectively. These S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. goal setting principles provide an easy and practical method of defining precisely what you want, a checking system to make sure your goals are achievable and in line with your current beliefs and values, and a mechanism for ensuring you follow through with them. I suggest you first identify a couple of goals you'd like to achieve for yourself, then as we go through the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. principles one at a time, check the goals you've written to ensure they meet the criteria - if they don't, then alter them so they do.

S = Specific and measurable
Ensure your goals are specific and measurable. What precisely do you want? Rather than writing "I want to get better at tennis", or "I want to lose weight", or "I want to play well in the game this weekend", identify the specific level you want to attain. Some examples might be: "To be a trim and toned 75kg"; "To reduce my golf handicap by 3 strokes"; "To achieve 70% of my first services in court"; "To earn $80,000 this financial year".

M = 'Me' focused - controllable by myself
Your goals want to be controllable by yourself. Goals such as "I want to marry Demi Moore", or "I want my son to be a concert pianist", or even "I'm going to win the golf tournament", are not under your control. Demi might not want to marry you, your son may not want to become a concert pianist, and winning is a result of how well you, and your opponents, play, on the day.

More controllable goals would be: "I'm going to ask Demi Moore out on a date" (you can control your asking - not her going); or "I'm going to provide my son with the opportunities and encouragement to become a concert pianist"; or "I'm going to hit 79 or better today", (which if everyone else plays about to their handicap, will see me win the tournament).

It's important to recognise that you can't control winning - but you can control your level of effort, your enthusiasm, your concentration, and your attitude. So some people suggest that rather than focusing on the outcome, (winning), you direct all your attention to the process, (the means by which you will win). While I agree on the importance of paying attention to the process, I do think it's also important to still want to win, and to aim to win. I think both are equally important, because athletes, managers, or salespeople who just focus on the 'process' alone in their goal setting, lose the necessary hunger, the edge that makes a champion performer. This edge comes from the desire to win. So you want to win, yet you also want to focus on the means by which you will win - the skills and techniques that you employ to hit straight down the fairway, or make a sale, or resolve a conflict, or coach a team, or whatever.

A = Achievable
A is for achievable. Make your goals achievable from where you are now. For instance, if you're currently playing B grade tennis, it's not very realistic to set a goal to win the U.S. Open this year - you'd just be setting yourself up for a failure. However, if you're a hot young teenage tennis player with a lot of motivation and the desire to reach the top, then setting such a goal for say six or seven years time, might very well be achievable - provided you're willing to put in the effort. Assess your current abilities and set a goal enough beyond yourself to challenge you and make you want to work toward it, but not something way beyond your current ability, or too easy, or you'll just get discouraged, or bored. As a general rule if you can't 'see' yourself achieving a goal, then you probably won't, so aim for something a bit smaller, then when you reach that, shoot for the bigger one.

R = Reasons
The most important key in the SMARTER process of goal achieving is to have powerful reasons for achieving a goal. It's a very useful exercise to consider why you want to achieve a particular goal - what are your personal reasons underlying your desire for it? Having powerful reasons for achieving a goal can make a world of difference in your ability to achieve it - especially when the going gets tough.

At the Aikido Dojo that I attend there is a quietly spoken, petite woman who is about fifty years old. This woman is also a second Dan black belt, and is an incredible inspiration for us all, because she took up Aikido in her forties, and maintained the discipline, courage and determination through injuries and setbacks, to attain not only a black belt, but her second Dan black belt - which could be likened to the difference between a Bachelor's degree and a PhD! When asked why she took up Aikido, and why she maintains her training, her reply was simple, yet very powerful: "I wanted to feel dangerous", she said! Here we have a small, middle aged woman who at first glance would be a pushover to even a teenage mugger - yet who in reality is a very dangerous woman indeed!

When working with my clients I ask them to list at least five powerfully compelling reasons why they want to achieve a particular goal, and this provides personal leverage for themselves for those times when their motivation wanes, and they start to question "Why am I doing this?" They already have an answer for themselves!

T = Timed
T stands for setting a specific time or target date by which you will achieve the goal. If you don't do this it's too easy to just keep putting it off to 'one day'. Goals have been called 'dreams with a deadline', so set a timeline for your achieving each of your goals. Some examples of specific, timed goals might be: "To swim an Olympic qualifying time in the 100m freestyle at the national titles next month"; "To buy a new house by the end of the year"; "To attain my brown belt by the end of the year"; or "To reduce my golf handicap to 5 within the next two years".

E = Ecological - consider your 'whole' self
Personal ecology is a concept that recognises that you are a complex organism, made up of different 'parts'. If these parts of yourself get into conflict, then you're not going to function optimally. Ecology means being responsible to your whole self, when you set and work toward your goals.

This means considering the other things that are important in your life, or that you have responsibility for. For example, relationships, work, family, study, and relaxation. Denying a part of yourself to achieve a goal will only lead to self sabotage, as the part of you that is denied manifests periods of lethargy or unmotivation; excessive nervousness in important competitions; lapses in concentration at crucial moments, or recurrent injuries.

This is one reason why some people don't achieve a particular goal - there is a part of them that doesn't really want it to happen, and so it sabotages their performance. For instance, you might set yourself a goal to represent your country in your sport, then as you put more and more time into training, and are away from home more and more frequently, that part of you that needs and values the emotional support of a relationship feels denied, and 'out of the blue' you suddenly get sick, or injure yourself, just before an important selection trial, and miss out on selection. Or after playing really well all season, you have a form slump and put in a pathetic performance - just when the selectors are watching!

This type of thing happens so often in sport, it's no accident! It's a result of pushing yourself, rather than working with yourself in achieving goals. This is why it's so important when setting your goals to really listen to yourself - to pay attention to your various parts.

E also stands for empower yourself by giving yourself permission to achieve your goals, and know that you're worthy of them. Sometimes, on the verge of success, people sabotage their performance because their self concept is not large enough to accept success. Enlarge your self concept by continually affirming to yourself that you are worthy of success and high achievement - you are worthy of being called a champion in your chosen sport, or career.

S = Strategy or action plan
Obviously just wanting something is not going to make it happen - you will need a strategy, a viable action plan, and be willing to be flexible in adapting to setbacks and obstacles along the way.

It's useful to ask : What can I do today, tomorrow, this week, next month, this year to advance my goal? How can I achieve it? What resources and assistance do I need? Obviously with major goals you will want to chunk them down to simple steps. So what are you waiting for?

T = Thought about regularly
Remember to regularly review your goals. Build a positive expectation of success by regularly thinking about your goals, and imagining what it will be like to achieve them.

Whatever it is that you're aiming for, write it on a sheet of paper - make up a colourful poster, and even include photos and drawings if you want - and put it on the ceiling above your bed, or on the back of the toilet door, or on the fridge door, or on your briefcase, or in your wallet, or in all these places. The more you start thinking of yourself as already having the goal, or already being the way you want to be, the faster you will make it happen.

Look at your list of written goals at least once every day. Preferably, spend five minutes first thing in the morning, and last thing at night to briefly think about and imagine achieving them. This both sets the tone for your whole day by giving you a strong sense of direction right from the moment you wake up, and allows your unconscious resources to provide you with inspiration and ideas as you sleep.

I also recommend writing your goals on small palm cards, (about the size of a business card), and carrying them with you throughout the day. Then if you get stuck in traffic, or in a queue at the bank, rather than feeling angry and frustrated, you can use the time productively to think about and imagine achieving them!

There are no 'idle' thoughts - every thought plants the seed of a step on the way to achieving what you want in your life. Cultivate a constructive obsession for your goals; think about them; dream about them; want them.

Finally, do reward yourself when you achieve a goal, or a significant milestone along the way to a goal. Even for small goals, give yourself a reward. If you give up cigarettes for a month, or even a week - be proud of the accomplishment. If you eat healthily, and limit your alcohol intake, then tell yourself you've done well today.

See how many DFDs (Drug Free Days) you can put together in a row. Recognise that things like alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and other so called 'recreational' drugs dull your senses, and blunt the keen edge needed to perform at your best. They're for losers.

Champions may not all be teetotallers, but I've rarely seen one that smokes, drinks to excess, or is addicted to coffee or marijuana. They also eat healthy food - recognising that their body is a superbly tuned engine, and their health is their greatest asset.

Do something special, just for yourself, when you achieve a major goal; celebrate your successes, because this will build the motivation and confidence to go for the next goal, and the next. The more you set up a positive feedback loop, the more your body-mind system will want to continue to set goals, and achieve them. If you don't reward yourself, you won't build the positive goal setting habits that are a part of every champion's behaviour.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Practical Suggestions for Achieving Your Dream

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

The key to being successful in your sport may not be as a result of a different diet, or through a new cross training regimen, or with the latest technologically advanced running shoes - it could be something as simple as how you set your goals. Some people don't set goals at all; others set them, but don't write them down; still others write them down, but don't know how to work with them effectively. The following S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting principles will provide you with an easy and practical method of defining precisely what you want - which is the first step in getting there!

WHY DON'T PEOPLE SET GOALS?
Recently, I was invited to give a Sportsmind presentation to a group of aspiring young athletes who had just been selected as the best in their sport in their region, and were being inducted into an elite sports training academy. One of the first questions I asked them was how many of them had written down goals. The answer ..... five out of sixty! And these kids were supposedly the great sporting hopes for the region!

I then asked the question: "Well, why don't people set goals?" They answered with the four most common reasons:
1. The 'couldn't be bothered' response; the deadly apathetic malaise.
2. The 'don't want to appear different from peers' response - a typically Australian disease.
3. The fear of failure - if I don't set a goal, then I can't fail at getting it.
4. The fear of success - how responsible/guilty/afraid I'd feel if I was incredibly successful.

I wonder if I asked you to show me your written down goals for the next six months, twelve months, and three to five years ...... would you have anything to show me? If not, why not? Are any of the responses above applicable to you in your sport?

IMPORTANCE OF A DREAM
You know, a lot of athletes train very hard in the belief that it's hard training that leads inevitably to success. They read about (in ULTRAFIT of course!) how their idols train; they copy their gym routines and dietary habits; they do everything physically that they do, believing that if they train hard and do all the things that the top performers do - then they'll also succeed. But let me tell you it doesn't work that way. The breaks go to the people with dreams and specific goals. You want to have a dream, a goal. Somehow, the dream itself provides the motivation and the means for its own accomplishment.

The only thing that will keep you going when the going gets tough, is a dream focused into a set of specific goals. Nothing else will. The only thing that will keep you fighting to win when it's five games to one and match point against you, and it's hot and you're tired, is a dream. The only thing that will keep you out there in the cold and rain at training, when you're soaking wet and uncomfortable, is a dream. The only thing that will get you up and pushing forward to make another tackle in the last minutes of the game when you're body is aching and exhausted, is a dream.

BRINGING DREAMS TO REALITY
Having dreams is important - but lots of people have 'dreams', yet they never achieve them. How do you turn dreams into reality?

One of the keys is to understand how you got to be where you are, right now, because where you are now was at one time just a dream, wasn't it? There was a time when, for instance, you hadn't even started playing or competing in your chosen sport - and to reach the level you're at now was just a dream. Isn't it so?
So what was it that brought that dream to reality? What is it that precedes all our actions, all our behaviours, all our performances in every area of our lives? It's our decisions, isn't it?

Your decisions precede all your actions, and therefore determine who you become. Everything in your life, including your current level of performance in your sport is determined by the decisions you have made, and are making right now. The decisions you're making right now, even as you read this article, are determining what you think, how you feel, what you do, and who you become.

If you ask yourself why a particular person is currently performing better than you, then the answer is simply that they've made some different decisions. Different decisions about how they spend their time; different decisions about how they respond to setbacks or defeats; different decisions about their approach to training - but most importantly, different decisions about what they expect of themselves, and what they want to achieve in their sport.

TRUE DECISIONS
The power of a committed decision to help you improve your current performance cannot be underestimated. However, for your decisions to make a real difference in your life and in your performance, it's important that they be true decisions. Too many people don't understand what a true decision is - they use the word loosely, and so decisions for them have become just preferences.

A true decision leaves no choice for any other option. If you truly decide to give up smoking, then that's it, you no longer even consider the possibility of smoking again. If you truly decide to reduce your golf handicap by five strokes over the next twelve months, then you'll do it. If you truly decide to improve your fitness, or lose weight, or reach a higher standard in your sport, then you'll do it.

However, many people just state preferences. I think I'd like to give up cigarettes; or I'd like to improve my percentage of first services in; or I hope to make the first eleven. These are just 'wish lists' - and serious sportspeople have no time for wish lists.

So how do you tell when you've made a 'true' decision? Action always follows true decisions! For instance, if you truly decide to buy a new car, then you'll go to see a dealer, or you'll phone up to put an add in the paper to sell your old one. If you truly decide to end a relationship, then you'll confront you're partner, or you'll pack you're bags. Likewise, if you make a true decision to reach a higher standard in your sport, then you'll take some action.

S.M.A.R.T.E.R GOALS AND ACTION PLANS
There is power in knowing what you want, and in committing yourself to achieve it, and this is especially true in sport. All the top sports men and women are consistent goal setters and planners. Consider this: In six months time, in twelve months time, in five years, in ten years you're going to become some one; you're going to be performing at some standard in your sport. Why leave it to chance? Why not choose, today, who and what you want to be in six months, in twelve months, in five years and in ten years time?

So here's a little exercise for you to do. Write down, right now, the three most important things you want to achieve for yourself in the next six months, twelve months and three to five years.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Positive Compulsions: Choose what you're Compelled About

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE COMPULSIONS
How come some people have compulsions for positive behaviours such as regular exercise, healthy food, and fresh air, while others feel compelled to smoke, drink excessively, and spend their time in smoky casinos or in front of the telly? Why is it that for some people it would be almost impossible for them to go through a day without some form of exercise, while for others it seems almost impossible for them to even do 20 minutes of walking?

How come two people can look at a packet of cigarettes and one says, "Mmmm, I've got to have one", and the other person thinks, "Yuck! Lung cancer and death!". How come two people can look at a 10km fun run and one says to themselves, "Yeah, let's do it!", and the other says "It's too hard, I couldn't run that far".

The reason is that both behaviours are a result of what each person has linked enjoyment and difficulty to - what has been called the pleasure / pain principle.

You only ever do anything because you associate more enjoyment and pleasure with doing it, than not doing it. You only ever avoid certain things because you associate more pain and difficulty with doing them, than not doing them.

An excellent analogy to help you understand this concept is simply that of a computer program: people have programmed themselves to associate pleasure and pain to specific things, and the differences in what they associate pleasure and pain to reflect the differences in their behaviour, personal health and fitness, and performances in their life.

Unfortunately, for many people the choice of what means pleasure and what means pain was wired into them at a young age by their parents, peers, or advertisers, and was not chosen consciously or deliberately. Some people have programs that associate exercise with hard work, or a healthy salad with pain and boredom, while chocolate and coffee is associated with pleasure and comfort! Some people even associate cigarette smoking with manliness, independence, and sex appeal - what a con that has been, yet millions have fallen for it! A classic case I worked with was a girl who had associated being sweaty with being unfeminine - programmed in by her mother at a young age - and this had prevented her from achieving the fitness and health goals she wanted! Every time she got sweaty, she felt bad, so she never really exercised properly.
What do you associate pleasure and pain to? How might you program yourself differently in order to achieve what you want - more success in your business, better relationships, or improved health and fitness? What pleasure and pain associations do you think highly successful individuals have made? How might you use this concept to assist your clients to make positive changes in their behaviours?

THE STRUCTURE OF THINKING
However, just understanding the importance of the pleasure / pain principle still doesn't really provide us with the necessary tools to help others to stop smoking, take up regular exercise, or eat a healthy diet. The real key to helping people change unhealthy lifestyle patterns, is to understand the mental structure behind each individual's own pain and pleasure associations.

It's been truly said that one person's pain is another person's pleasure - but how can this be? What does the person do in their mind to make something pleasurable or painful?

A major reason why people don't take action to follow a program of exercise or a healthful diet, is the way they picture and imagine those activities. Yet these same people have no problem acting on unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, over-eating chocolate or junk foods, excessive alcohol indulgence, and so on. This is so because these negative compulsions are pictured and experienced by the person very differently.

Compulsions are only compulsions because of the way you picture, hear and feel them! But what makes a compulsion, compelling? Why do some people just have to have a cigarette, or eat chocolate, or gamble their family's savings away, or bite their fingernails, or get anxious at the sight of a spider?

We act on compulsions as a result of the structure of our subjective experience, the structure of how we think about a particular thing.

SUBMODALITIES
Every behaviour is a consequence of our thinking - everything we do externally must first happen internally, in our mind. If you analyse your thinking you will notice that there is only a limited amount of choice available as to how you think. Basically you've got five choices, as per our five senses: your thinking is made up of seeing images; hearing sounds or words; feeling feelings; and to a lesser extent, smells and tastes.

Everything we do is a result of using these five sensory thinking components - and in particular, the three primary senses of seeing, hearing, and feeling.

Every behaviour, positive or negative, productive or destructive, healthy or unhealthy first begins as a sort of mental 'program' in the individual's mind before it happens. So essentially, the reason why one person sees cigarettes as attractive and another sees them as disgusting, is simply a result of engaging different mental programs. Likewise, the same is true for exercise or eating patterns - people who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet think differently about exercise and diet, than those who don't exercise and eat junk food.

The only way to effectively change someone's behaviour then, is to get them to change the mental processes which support the behaviour.

The key here is that each of our primary sensory systems also includes numerous submodalities - which are finer distinctions or refinements of that sensory system. For instance, our visual sense has the submodalities of colour, size, brightness, distance, shape, and so on. Our auditory sense has the submodalities of volume, tone, tempo, distance, and so on. Our kinaesthetic sense has the submodalities of texture, temperature, pressure, movement and so on.

Submodalities are really important aspects of our thinking, because by varying the submodalities of a particular thought, even only slightly, you can totally change your response to it. For instance, if you want to be more motivated, or compelled, to achieve a particular goal or outcome, then picture, hear and feel about that outcome in the same way that you picture, hear and feel about something you're absolutely compelled to do.

If you think of a desired goal, and 'see' it in full colour, big and bright, large, and up close directly in front of you; and say to yourself in a loud, confident voice "YES! I want this, now!"; and feel an excitement welling up within you, and a tingling all over your body - that's pretty hard to resist! In contrast, if you 'see' a goal dim, fuzzy, and distant; say to yourself in an unsure tone of voice "I hope I get this"; and feel unsure and cool, then you're probably not going to have much 'go for it'!

Generally, for most people, visual submodalities of compulsion are: large size, close, colourful, 3-D, bright and moving. Auditory compelling submodalities are louder, stereo sounds or voices, close, with resonant tones. Kinaesthetic, (or feeling), submodalities of compulsion are warmer, faster movement, higher intensity and strong rhythm.

However, there can be individual differences. Do the following exercise to identify the submodalitites that are compelling for you.
EXERCISE : Submodalities of Compulsion

1. Think of something you're really compelled to do. A favourite pastime, something you do if you get half a chance. For example it might be an activity like going to the beach, or tinkering with your motorbike, or maybe a favourite TV program you never miss. [Use a positive activity - something you enjoy doing and is not unhealthy or self destructive]

2. Now think of that activity, and as you think of it, notice the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic submodalities of your thoughts. How do you picture the activity? What and how do you talk to yourself about it? And your feelings?

3. Now think of something that you'd like to be more motivated, or compelled to do. Imagine doing it using the same visual, auditory and kinaesthetic submodalities you use for your compulsive activity.

What if you had a compulsion for positive behaviours and empowering emotional states? The difference between a champion and an average person is simply that they have chosen different things to focus on and get excited about - they have compulsions for positive behaviours like eating healthily, fitness training, and feeling good about themselves, instead of smoking, overeating, sloth and feeling lousy!

Teach your clients to make new associations to the positive behaviours you want them to follow, by having them think of exercising in a bright, close, colourful way in their mind, and re-program their negative behaviours by having them see smoking and junk food as small, dull, and uninteresting. Encourage them to speak to themselves in an upbeat, happy and resonant tone when exercising, and think about watching TV in a dull, monotone, boring manner. Have them feel vibrant feelings of energy and warmth coursing rapidly around their body when they exercise and eat healthily, and have prickly feelings of coolness and disgust for smoking and junk food.

By doing this you're not just showing them how to exercise or lead a healthier lifestyle, you're also showing them how to use their thinking to control their own subjective responses and behaviours - something which will have more far reaching positive consequences to their lives as a whole.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Balanced Goals

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

Looking around at people in society - and in the sporting community in particular - it's easy to find examples of unbalanced individuals who lead one-dimensional lives. They may have achieved 'success' in their work, or career, or sport; they may be very wealthy - yet they don't seem to be particularly happy.

One of the major philosophies underpinning the entire Sportsmind approach, is that success is all about treating an athlete holistically. Learning to train the mind and emotions as well as training our body. This means that we want to recognise that we have emotions and feelings; that friendship and love and belonging are just as important to being a success, as are well toned muscles, gold medals and financial gain.
One way to understand this important principle of setting balanced goals is to consider a wheel with five spokes. Each of these spokes represents an area of your life.

Spoke 1 is for your personal health and fitness - without this you can't do anything else. Spoke 2 is for your relationships and family life - without which life pretty much loses its meaning. Spoke 3 is for career and sporting goals and other interests - because humans want to have a sense of purpose in life. Spoke 4 is for financial wealth and possessions - because life is a 'pay as you go' process, not a free ride. Spoke 5 is for personal development and contribution - because we all leave a legacy of some kind, be it a help or a hindrance.

So as you review your goals for the year, perhaps you might answer the follwing questions: "What kind of relationships would I like to have with my coach, and team mates?" "What do I want to learn this year?" "How do I want my family to be?" "What would I like to contribute to the wider community this year?"

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Be Your Own Life Coach

By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.

Most people live life reacting to events, feeling as though they are acted upon, controlled by other people and external forces. It does not have to be that way. It is possible to feel in charge of your life ... to feel as though you're the one deciding what you do, where you go, who you're with, and how you spend you time. The only way to achieve this is to decide now to design your life!

When designing it's important to consider your life as a five pointed star, with each of the five points representing a different aspect of your life. The first point, at the top, represents your health and fitness - because if you don't have good health, you won't be able to achieve or enjoy anything else. The two side arms of the star are for wealth/possessions on the left, and career/achievements on the right side. The two supporting legs of the star are for personal development/contribution on the left, and relationships/family on the right side - because without a sense of contribution and growth and connection with others, even great achievements feel hollow and meaningless.

So, let's start designing your life ... right now! If you could live where you wanted, do what you wanted, and be the person you most wanted to be, what would that look, sound and feel like? Take the next 15 minutes to write down all your dreams and desires, as if they were really possible for you. Don't be concerned just yet about whether you can achieve something or nor, or how you could go about it - we'll be considering these issues later on. For now, simply get all your dreams down.

To help, you might want to consider :

Where do you want to live?

What kind of home do you want?

What kind of car?

How much income do you want to earn in a year?

How much do you want to have in savings?

What places would you like to visit?

What have you always wanted to learn, or do, that you've never gotten around to yet? What would you like to contribute to our society / the world?

Who do you want to know and be friends with?

How do you want your family to be?

What do you want to weigh, and look like?

How fit do you want to be?

What skills do you want to have?

What do you want to achieve in your career?

What possessions do you yearn for? And so on.

Brainstorm your thoughts and ideas below, and then organise them into the five groupings.

Copyright J. Hodges / Sportsmind Institute 2008

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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Success to S.I.G.N.I.F.I.C.A.N.C.E.

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

Introduction

If you're reading this, you've probably already tasted some success, and are probably among the top 10% or 20% in your chosen sport. However, how can you build upon the successes you've had to really make a significant mark in your sport – to truly stand out from the crowd and leave a legacy as a champion. There have been many talented sportspeople with huge potential – and yet they have not lived up to that potential over time.

Your psychology and your thinking strategies make the difference between someone who just has 'potential', and the person who actually grabs that potential with both hands and makes full use of it in their lives.

So – are you going to become more than just a gifted athlete with lots of potential? I challenge you to actually become outstanding – to become someone who makes a significant contribution to their sport, and to our society.

So, before reading any further, take a few moments to think, now, about what significant achievement you'd like to attain.... then I will take you through a process for how you can actually make it happen.

I've been fortunate to assist with two Olympic Gold medalists, hundreds of national champions and thousands of outstanding athletes and coaches over the past 25 years, and what has absolutely fascinated me is – how does someone take an idea, a wish to say win an Olympic gold medal or a national championship.... and actually make it happen? What are the keys which allow someone to take a dream and turn it into reality?

I suggest there are 12 important principles, or keys, – and I use the word SIGNIFICANCE as an acronym to explain these.

Let's go through them – and as we do, I encourage you to apply each principle to your own dream of significance.

S - State Positively and Precisely What You Want

It's important to know exactly what you want and to focus on what you want, rather than what you DON'T want. Our attention is like a missile guidance system – whatever you focus on, you will move towards. Making your desire precise helps use your unconscious resources to help with the goal, rather than just your conscious will power.

I - Important Reasons

Reasons generally come before actions – rarely does anyone do anything without a 'reason'. So find powerful reasons to achieve what you know exactly what you want want.... rather than excuses NOT to do it! Too often we get caught up in the inevitable challenges and difficulties in our way. However the way to overcome these is to have compelling enough reasons. Write down now half a dozen powerful reasons WHY you want to achieve your goal, and what will it cost you if you DIDN'T achieve it?

G - Turn into Goals

Goals are dreams with a deadline..... and an action plan. WHEN do you want to achieve this by? It's been shown that most people OVERestimate what they can do in 6 months or a year, but UNDER-estimate what they can do in 5 or 10 or 20 years. What is the FIRST STEP? Identify some small thing you can do tonight that will immediately start you on the journey.... And do it!

N - Non-Comparative with Others

Compare how you are today with how you were yesterday, and how you want to be tomorrow. Your competitors are simply yardsticks by which you chart your OWN progress from the past.... to the present.... to the future.

I - Intrinsic Motivation

Do it FOR YOURSELF. Because this is what is in your heart – your heart driven, passion driven desire.... because you LOVE it.

F - Future Self Reference Point

We have a fascination with, and an attachment to, our personal history that is totally unwarranted, and in my opinion, mostly detrimental and limiting to achieving our highest potential. You are NOT just a consequence of the past, but a pre-sequence of a future self who wants to come into being. Use this Future You as a new 'reference point' for decisions/beliefs about yourself, and allow this future self to become your own 'inner coach' and mentor. Most people think they are locked into being a consequence of their past – and it is a seductive belief and can seem very real.... but this is just a default setting on your personal computer. You CAN engage your INTENTION by establishing a relationship with your desired future self – then the past becomes irrelevant, and the future draws you towards itself.

I - Imagine it Happening

Engage the most powerful force in the Universe – your imagination – to ENVISAGE it happening. Just think, if you took just 30 seconds first thing in the morning and 30 seconds last thing at night, and used this time to picture what you wanted.... to kindle the flame of your creative power to INTEND the result you want. If you did that every day for the next six months, do you think that would have an impact? You better believe it will!!

C - Congruent with Your Core Values

There is power in connecting the surface goal you are wanting with the driving core value underneath. We rarely identify the real goal we are actually chasing. People don't want money, or relationships, or possessions.... they want to experience the CORE VALUES those things represent: e.g. security; love; intimacy; freedom; independence; happiness; etc. You can identify your underlying values by using an "outcome chain": Ask yourself "What will this give me that is even MORE important?"

A - Achievable

What you want needs to be achievable – but how do you know? Only YOU can know. As a general rule, if you can't SEE yourself doing it / achieving it, you probably won't. If you can't 'see' it happening, break the goal down to smaller chunks until you can.

N - Never Give Up Mindset

Develop a mindset of PERSISTENCE. Persistence is more powerful than skill or intelligence or good looks. Persistence can get you just about anything you want. How do you develop persistence? Persistence is a mental process which focuses on solutions. Ask yourself : "How CAN I do such and such, or achieve this?", and expect an answer. Your brain is designed as an answer-seeking mechanism, use it wisely. Most people get stuck because they ask the wrong questions.

C - Commit

How do you commit? Establish a routine – something small – and do it every day.

E - Ecology Check

The main reason people don't achieve a specific goal or dream is resistance or sabotage from within themselves. Check for objections WITHIN yourself and WITHOUT from others close and/or important to you or the goal. Are there any 'down' sides? Are you willing to pay the price? Is it worth it? If objections, find a way to either modify the goal, or build a solution to the objection into the process.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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