Goal setting is a common part of living life used by most everyone for most everything dealing with living. We as humans set goals in everyday life such as I’m going to get eight hours of sleep tonight. I will save $200 each payday, for my retirement. I can run to the next street sign before taking a walking break. I will get my car fix on Thursday, as well as the oil, changed. But in sports setting a goal is a key part of improving in your respective sport and/or desired aspect and becoming the best you can possibly be and whatever you want to be.
Athletes set goals following the lines of, I will make 95% of the free throws I make during this entire season. Or, I will run my fastest race at the July track and field meet in the 200m dash. Of, I will make it to every practice and make sure that I use my time wisely at each of them. Goal setting is a specific type of action plan designed to reach your ideal endgame or the thing you dream to achieve. To reach that goal in a timely manner, certain steps must be used each time. When properly used goal, setting works effectively and is an efficient way to get information from your workouts, practices, and other sports-related activities. Overall, goal setting is an effective and efficient tool if you know how to use it and are consistent when you implement it.
There are many definitions of goal setting and they all vary in some way whether big or small. As Manktelow puts it ‘goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn this vision of the future into reality’ (pg. 5). This definition is focused on looking into your future as a whole. Or as Blackmer puts it ‘setting goals can help athletes focus on what’s most important, increase their effort and motivation to stick with their plan, consider new strategies regarding how to accomplish their goals and help them track their progress’ (pg. 1).
This definition is focused on looking at how goals help give the motivation to reach dreams we have and keep track of our progress working towards these goals. As Locke and his team say in the written article goal setting is a regulator of human actions. Meaning when we set good goals with specific dreams in mind we can begin to regulate our own actions to reach those goals. We can begin to work and practice with purpose and intent in mind. But the best definition of goal setting I have found came from Chapter one goal setting your roadmap to success. In this chapter, the process of setting a goal is designed and compared to building your self a roadmap for a trip.
Step one, setting a long-term goal or locate specifically where it is you are planning to go (AKA your dreams or biggest desire followed by bigger steps to reach it in the form of a long-term). Step two set a short-term goal(s) or planned stops along the way (Baby steps to reach your big steps).
Step three, set daily goals or goals that tell you how many miles till the next short-term goal. Step four is the changes stop, where you can make changes and adjust your goals as needed so that you can better reach your long-term goal or can better change your long-term goal to suit your new needs. This step is the most important because it allows you to re-evaluate your plans for life at all levels from the begging at your dream goal all the way down to your daily goals. Lastly, step five allows you to take the time to enjoy the journey to the fullest of it’s potential.
Setting and keeping goals can be referred to many other words as well. These words include purpose, intent, performance standard, and quota. Setting goals creates a purpose for doing things, a purpose is a goal we do everything in life for some purpose or reason or we don’t do it at all. In turn, we do everything with a goal in mind without really thinking or planning on it. But the best goals are goals we take time to create and develop. The intent is that we are going to do something, with goals we create the intent to do something.
The setting of a goal will give us the power to do something because we are planning or intending to do it. The setting of daily goals will create a performance standard. If we ensure that the performance standard is met, then we are working towards our goals for our sport as an athlete. Setting a goal is also setting a quota not all quotas are number related. Reaching our goal can help us to reach our quotas. In other words, goals are everywhere and in many forms and shapes that we may not realize. ‘Goal-setting pays off and actually saves you time because it helps you stay focused and motivated’ (pg. 1, Blackmer).
Specific dreams can be a difficult and tedious task to set goals for. To reach this specific dream steps should be followed in a certain order. The first step of your goal roadmap is to set your dream goal. This goal is your goal you want to reach in a few years or longer down the line. For example, I want to in 2020 compete in the Grand Prix in California.
Then, set your long-term goals. These goals are larger steps to reach your dream goal. Without these, the dream goal will seem an unreachable task and therefore may never be reached. Following the example above, I will participate in two lessons every week and be ready for each lesson in a timely fashion so that I can move up in jump heights on a regular basis. Next is setting short-term goals.
These goals are small steps toward a long-term goal. They are designed to help aid in achieving a long-term goal in a timely manner. Following the one above again, at the end of this summer, I will compete in the 1.15m jumper division at the horse show at the end of the summer. Following these goals is the setting of daily goals. Daily goals are baby steps taken each day to help reach short-term goals, which will help with long-term goals, which can help you reach your desired dream goal.
To achieve the goals above I will ride five days a week, and with each day I strive to be focused on my riding, improving my core strength and body muscle to stay balanced and in rhythm. When setting these goals though it is important to remember that they are not set in stone. ‘It is necessary to evaluate goals at several points during the…. Season. Set up specific dates for… athletes to monitor their success and to make changes if needed’ (pg. 4, goal setting). As time goes on the dream goal may change and shift towards a different desire. The long-term goals may change to better achieve the dream goal.
For goal setting to be effective they should be designed to follow along with Dana Blackmer’s SMARTS in mind. This means that goals should be specific in details. All questions possible should be answered, who, what, when, where, and how. An example of a good specific goal was given by bluleadz blog for the purpose of blogging. ‘We will increase our blog traffic by 100 unique visitors a week (400 unique visitors a month) by doubling our weekly blog publishing schedule from two posts per week to four and increasing our minimum word count per blog from 800 words to 1,600 words. Each of our two bloggers will improve their productivity from one post a week to two.’
The goals should also be measurable. This means that we can use numbers to define reaching them. ‘How often? How many? How much?’ (pg. 3, Blackmer). A good measurable goal is also given by blueleadz blog. ‘Our goal for total blog traffic is to add 400 unique visitors per month to the current total we received over the last 30 days at the start of this initiative.’
Action-oriented means that they give you a sense of motivation to take and a path to go down. All goes except for maybe the dream goal should be realistic. All other goals should be reachable even if they are designed to be moderately difficult in design. In fact, Locke’s study provided information on how moderately difficult goals can be most effective. ‘… harder goals led to greater effort than the easier goals and training on harder chess problems led to the acquisition of more skill and knowledge than training on easier ones’ (pg. 127, Locke). Bluleadz also gives a realist example of goal setting. ‘By increasing traffic, we will be able to get more social media engagement (follows, subscribes), elevate our total email list subscriptions, and ultimately qualify more leads for our targeted offers. All of these goals track directly to bottom line sales and revenue goals.’
Like realistic goals except for dream goals, should be timely. Goals should be able to be reached in a reasonable amount of time. ‘We will reach this goal within 60 days. That gives us a full month when the new initiative will be attracting traffic.’ (Bluleadz) All goals that you design should be self-determined. That is, the goals should be what you want, and be thought out by you. Goals that are created by you are more meaningful to you and can help motivate you to get things done in a timely manner.
Goal setting must follow certain steps so that goal setting works effectively for all those who set goals. A properly set goal will provide the athlete with direction, feedback, and motivation. Direction comes in the form of where you are going, setting goals to provide the roadmap that gives the athlete the choices to follow to reach each goal. Feedback comes from the completion of goals. Once a goal is completed information can be obtained as to what needs to be worked on next, or what another fine toning of maneuvers that needs to be worked on. Motivation comes from having goals that are set for you to reach. If we have something set to work on and work towards we have something to help motivate us to get a move on.
There are many ways to set effective goals, that leave direction, feedback, and motivation in their paths. Blackmer gives many ways to start with the SMARTS goals. Then make sure that all goals are set in a positive tone. Positive goals help to motivate the setter and give them drive to keep on reaching goal after goal. Make all goals moderately difficult and set with a specific date in mind that you want to reach it by. Have a variety of goals ones for home, ones for practice, ones for home games, and ones for away games. Remember your goals, write them down… everywhere. Be able to track each goal and the changes you decide to take down the lines.
Certain facts about goals will help to make them more effective and efficient to use. Goals should be in two categories performance and process. Performance goals are goals that focus on what needs to be accomplished to complete the peak performance. Process goals are goals that focus on what specific things need to get done to reach your performance goals. ‘Harder goals led to better performance than easy goals.’ (pg. 127, Locke)
‘Shorter time limits led to a faster work pace than longer time limits.’ (pg. 127, Locke) ‘Higher goals produce higher performance than lower goals or no goals.’ (pg. 132, Locke). Goals are best if they are hard but reachable, better if they are shorter in the time frame, and hard goals are better then no goals at all because they push you to do more than just work.
Goal setting is a complex but useful step in being an athlete. With proper goals that are adjusted and revisited as needed, an athlete can become the best they can be. Goals allow us to reach things we never dreamed possible, such as running a four-minute mile. Setting goals using your dream goal first gives you a big picture to look towards. Your dream goal feeds your long-term goals, which are the chapters to your dream goal. This then, in turn, feed your short-term goals which are the big picture details in each chapter.
Lastly are your daily goals which are the small meaningful details within the chapter that begins to form the chapter meaning. Always using and focusing on your goals will provide you with direction, feedback, and give you the motivation to reach your dream. Be able to keep track of your goals and celebrate the victories along the way, even the small ones. Your path that your goals take you on should be joyful and enjoyable all the way even with the ups and downs.