It is possible to compete and achieve challenging goals without being a hero. A common training tool is setting goals. Competitors can use goals to organize their focus and efforts toward a specific task. Goals also help motivate them to continue training for the long term. A person with a goal can easily find new ways to learn. However, people often set their goals incorrectly. Here are seven steps to setting goals or reevaluating current ones.
1. Setting goals
Consider these questions:
- Do you have a specific goal in mind?
- What achievement would be worthy of your best efforts?
- Would you try anything if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- If you knew that this is your last chance, what would you do?
Make sure your vision is clear and compelling, one that will follow through no matter what setbacks and failures you may face. To know if you’ve reached your goal, you need to be very specific (something like “I want to be one of the top 32 fencers in NAC Division I”) rather than vague or general (i.e. “I want to do well”), so you can see if you got it.
2. What are you doing right now?
Examine where you are right now relative to your goal. Have you been “surviving” or have you been training to advance? What will you do to reach your goal if you don’t want to? Identify the situations that make you better and what causes them.
3. Honesty is the best policy
You need to know how to get where you want to go. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you respond to certain situations? For each of the following skill types, identify at least one area that needs improvement: physical, tactical, technical, or mental. This will give you a better idea of your possibilities.
4. Plan daily improvements
The process of setting a goal begins with this step. Consider, “What are the daily actions I can take to move toward reaching my goal?” Write three or four specific actions for each area you identified earlier. Be sure to use the present tense and be as specific as possible. You’re more likely to adhere to that statement than “I’m going to have faster legs” if you list “I do my plyometrics for fifteen minutes, three times a week.”
5. Set short-term goals and work to achieve them
It can take months or even years to reach your goals. Stay motivated by setting goals in short term during this time. You will be able to see your progress towards your final goal by achieving these small goals. The process should be oriented to reflect that you are working on it continuously.
6. Commitment is a must!
Saying you are going to do something is easy, but doing it is completely different. People rarely follow through on their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Being hesitant and doubting yourself will only delay your ultimate success. Don’t forget to enjoy the process.
7. Make sure to monitor your processes
During each day, ask yourself, “Am I getting closer to my goals?” Does your goal plan really work or does it need to be adjusted? You are not progressing if you are not sure. Make a checklist of your successes and lessons learned so far. The progress list will help you visualize how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to your goal when you feel like you’re too far away.
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