Goal-setting is one of the most important tools in the mental training tool box. Goal-setting is the foundation of personal success in all walks of life.
Why do we need to set goals? Goalsetting will do the following:
1) improve skills
2) give clarity of vision and purpose
3) challenge oneself to improve in all areas
4) narrow focus to concentration is on the right things
5) make the right choices
6) overcome obstacles, challenges, and manage stress
7) build confidence
8) when shared with coaches, teammates, and mentors, will provide encouragement and support!
What kind of goals are there? There are 3 types of goals: outcome goals, performance goals and process goals.
Outcome Goals have to do with the end-result; has the game been won? Has the championship been won? Was the tryout for the big team a success? The time line for the outcome goals can be long term, from 1 to 5 years, or it can be as simple as 1 game or event. Outcome goals are the everyday motivation, providing something to aspire to. Where does one want to be down the road?
Performance Goals include areas needing improvement to reach the outcome goal. Performance goals involve competing against oneself, by setting personal standards and always trying to beat personal bests. An example is how many shots on goal can you get in a game. All these goals are within the control of the individual as they do not involve an opponent.
Process Goals are the action steps that lead to achieving performance goals and eventually to outcome goals. These are areas needing focus on an everyday basis. When working on process goals one does not even think about the performance or outcome goal, the focus is on the step that you are trying to achieve. The process goal is under your control and is your main concentration.
Setting goals is the easy part. Many situations in school or in sport you will be led to set goals, to think about them, write them down, and then put them in your bag never to look at that piece of paper again.
Here is an activity that will help you follow and track progress for all your goals: the purposeful daily pause. Every morning or evening, spend 10 to 20 minutes reflecting, evaluating, and planning your day based on your process goals. All top athletes and performers in every field do this – they live and act their lives with a purpose every day.
It’s best is to keep a notebook or dairy dedicated to your goals. To start the process you need to think about what your process goals will be. Use your goal-setting form that you completed or a diary. Then set 1 to 3 (maximum) process goals for the day and write them down. This is now your plan for the day!
Once you have done this for the first time the purposeful daily pause cycle begins with a simple 3 step process asking yourself some simple reflective questions.
1) What went well today? Did I achieve my 1 to 3 process goals for the day? Why did I achieve my goals?
You are building on your successes and our strengths. When you are achieving, you are increasing your confidence and with increased confidence you can get better everyday!
2) If I did not reach one of my process goals, why didn’t I? What area requires my focus? What steps can I take to do better to improve?
3) What Process goals will I set for tomorrow? What do I need to improve upon from today? You can use the same goal for the next day if required.
Here are a few other guidelines: Spend time alone in a quiet area with no distractions, no phone, no music in the background – just you and your mind. Use progressive relaxation, breathing and/or visualization techniques to help you relax and get you into a pensive state. Meditate, make a “to do” list and use a journal or notebook to write things down.
The purposeful daily pause will help you:
1) live your life with purpose
2) build your confidence
3) set daily process goals
4) take control of what you are doing
5) keep moving and improving
In order for the purposeful daily pause to work it must become a daily habit or routine like brushing your teeth. Set up a time either in the morning or the evening before you go to bed, brush your teeth, then take time for the purposeful daily pause. Thinking of your outcome goal will be motivation for you to make it easy for you to stick to doing your purposeful daily pause. Once this process becomes a habit, your reward will be improvement as a person, as an athlete and as a successful goal achiever!