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.
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)
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
website : www.sportsmind.com.au