Goal Setting… not just a New Years resolution

No doubt that you’ll have all made some attempt to set some kind of “new years resolution” in the hope you might stick to it… but unless you have some structure behind those goals they’ll most likely fall by the wayside and be a distant memory by mid February! In this post I hope to give you some insight in how to set goals for yourself using some tried and tested techniques.

Goal setting is mental training as it is anything else, and will help increase your ability to stick at it and actually achieve the asperations you’ve set out for yourself. Simply saying that “you’ll do better” or “I’ll try and be more committed to training” isn’t an effective way to set goals or prepare you mental for the task in hand. It would be far more beneficial to say that “I’m going to commit to every Monday, Wednesday & Saturday” and then actually schedule your day/week towards achieving this. 

It has been proved that setting goals that are specific and challenging lead to the best result, but be careful, you’re goal must be realistic. Setting a goal that is too difficult will only lead to demotivation and a sense of failure!

As I have said earlier don’t underestimate the mental gains that come with goal setting;

  • It’ll get your own attention & awareness
  • Will help focus and priorities the task in hand
  • Give you something to work towards, a sense of purpose
  • It will also enable you to think about how and most importantly WHY!!!

Determining what kind of goal you’re setting yourself is also very key…. we’ve all heard “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, and this is where we define if our goals are finite or infinite. A finite goal has a start and an end, is clearly defined and gives an immediate feedback if you’ve succeeded or not. An infinite goal is something that can be adapted, changed based on circumstances, flex with your progress, but in order to set yourself an infinite goal you must have a clearly defined reason, and I’m not talking about to lose 5lbs, or to get my blue belt; I mean something meaningful, a belief in the change you want to make to your life style. I urge you to give this some real thought, what is your why?

So here are some well published methods for goal setting that all follow the same principles of clarity, challenging, commitment & feedback:

Process Goals (Infinite)

Process goals, are an interesting one, which focuses on the strategy and pattern to perform well. For example have the same routine in your pre-competition build up to drive results.

Some additional examples:

  • Ensure that you always go through mobility, stretches and warm-up/cool-down at the beginning and end of class, the result being injury prevention and more focus and readiness during your session.
  • maintain a steady and constrain pace when on a watt bike, or running so that you don’t burn out, the result being a steady improvement in your pace and times.
  • Go through a check list before squatting, set feet into the ground, engage quads, contract and brace your core, elbows in and chest high, the result being control through the entire movement, and increased load.
  • Check that feet are at the correct distance apart, that you’re light on your toes, that your hands are high, chin is tucked before hitting the pads.

Process goals help focus attention and are very effective in helping to control anxiety.

Performance Goals (Finite)

Performance goals specify a specific standard to be achieved; “win my fight”, “medal at the next comp”. This can be defined as a finite goal. A clearly defined target to achieve within a given time. Performance goals can be linked to your Process Goals; as a result of good process, performance has increased which can be measured.

Combining both Process and Performance goals encourage the development of mastery and can make a performer feel satisfied with a performance even if they do not win, because the process is being achieved.

A fantastic example of this is the use of a “+1“, as some of you may know my daughter, Macy is a keen tennis player and is representing her county and also the region for her age group, and the key message from the coaches isn’t about winning or losing but whether or not you achieved your “+1“, for example, make sure that you follow your swing all the way through on each shot, make sure that you reset before serving and not rush, drink plenty of water during sets. The outcome of this is that more consistent play is achieved resulting in better performance.


Process Goals and Performance Goals all need to be SMARTER:

  • Specific – make them as precise and detailed as possible
  • Measurable – a method by which you can quantify or rate your current position and then determine the amount of improvement required
  • Accepted – goals need to be shared and negotiated with all others involved
  • Realistic – the goal is realistic yet challenging
  • Time phased – date is set for when the goal is to be achieved by
  • Exciting – goals motivate you
  • Recorded – the goal and progress towards it are recorded

Help others

This is where it gets fluffy, but go this me here; if you’ve gone to our Mission page, if you were reading careful my philosophy is “To create a community that inspires and develops the skills of others” the important words here are community and others. By wanting to develop the skills of others you will by default improve your own performance as the others within your community get better and achieve more. Its about the environment. If you can create a winning environment then you’re good to go!

So… what are your goals? Comment below…

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.