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  • Mike Hartman (Admin)

Healthy Mindset 04

Updated: May 27

Chapter 4: Setting Goals

Do you want to be a better athlete, student, person, or employee? Of course, you do! Nobody enjoys being bad at something. In order to improve, you need to set goals and work towards them.

What is a goal? For athletes, setting and achieving goals is a key part of becoming successful. A goal is a specific target that an athlete sets for themselves, with the intention of reaching it. Goals can be related to any aspect of an athlete's performance, from improving their personal best to winning a championship. Athletes often set both short-term, medium, and long-term goals, in order to keep themselves motivated and on track. Achieving goals can give athletes a sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as help them to build confidence and improve their overall performance. While setting goals can be challenging, it is important for athletes to remember that even small improvements can make a big difference in their success.

What is a short-term goal? A short-term goal is something that an athlete sets to accomplish in a relatively short time frame, typically within one to three weeks. These goals can vary in nature, ranging from increasing endurance or speed to improving particular skills or techniques. For example, a runner might focus on increasing her pace during sprints or building up her lung capacity through regular cardio workouts. Regardless of the focus, short-term goals are designed to help athletes gain skills and achieve performance goals more quickly and effectively. Whether you're an athlete or simply someone who wants to reach your fitness goals more quickly, setting short-term goals can be an effective way to stay motivated and focused on your ultimate objectives. Some specific examples of short-term hockey goals could include:

  • Shooting for a higher percentage on net during practice

  • Working on developing a more accurate wrist shot

  • Increasing speed and agility in short bursts

  • Practicing puck control in tight areas

  • Doing explosive exercises that improve skating

What is a medium-term goal? A medium-term goal generally takes between four and twelve weeks to achieve, such as in a single season. For example, a runner who is training for a 5K race might set a medium-term goal of running four days per week and increasing their mileage by 10% each week. By setting and achieving small goals like this on a regular basis, athletes can make steady progress towards their long-term goals. Medium-term goals can help keep athletes motivated and focused on their training, preventing them from becoming discouraged or burned out. When setting medium-term goals, it is important to strike a balance between challenging oneself and remaining realistic; if a goal is too easy, it won't be effective in helping the athlete improve, but if it is too difficult, it may lead to frustration. Ultimately, the best way to find the right balance is to experiment and see what works best for the individual athlete. Some specific examples of medium-term soccer goals could include:

  • Improving ball control in tight areas

  • Working on developing a stronger shot

  • Becoming more proficient at heading the ball

  • Increasing speed and agility over short distances

  • Conditioning your body to be able to play for an extended period of time without becoming fatigued

What is a long-term goal? A long-term goal is something that you work towards gradually over a period of time, with the ultimate aim of achieving success in a particular field. For athletes, this might mean working towards winning an Olympic gold medal or setting a new world record in their given sport. Whether your goal is athletic or not, though, it should be something that invigorates and inspires you, fueling your drive to succeed no matter what challenges you may face along the way. If you are looking for an outlet to direct your ambition and determination, remember that a long-term goal can provide the motivation and focus needed to reach your full potential and achieve great things. Just remember to stay dedicated, keep pushing yourself, and dream big! Some specific examples of long-term football goals could include:

  • Becoming a more complete player by working on your strengths and weaknesses

  • Improving your stamina so that you can last the entire game without becoming fatigued

  • Training to become faster and more agile so you can make defensive plays more easily

  • Developing better ball control so that you can keep possession more effectively

  • Playing ball in college or the NFL

How do I start setting goals? As an athlete, it is important to set goals in order to improve your performance and achieve success. But how do you go about setting goals? First, you need to identify what you want to achieve. Are you looking to run a personal best in the marathon? Win a gold medal at the Olympics? Once you have a goal in mind, you need to develop a plan of action. What steps do you need to take in order to reach your goal? For example, if you are looking to improve your marathon time, you may need to train more frequently or change your diet. Once you have a plan of action, it is important to stay motivated and focused on your goal. Remember, setting goals is the first step on the road to success!

The SMART Method One of the best ways to set goals is by using the SMART method. This means that your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based. Let's break this down a bit further. Your goal should be specific. This means that you need to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. For example, rather than setting a goal to "run faster," you should set a goal to "improve my marathon time by two minutes." Your goal should be measurable. This means that you need to have a way of tracking your progress and determining whether or not you are actually achieving your goal. In the example above, you could measure your progress by timing yourself during training runs and races. Your goal should be achievable. This means that your goal should be something that is actually within the realm of possibility. If you are a beginner runner, setting a goal to run a four-minute mile is probably not realistic. However, setting a goal to improve your marathon time by two minutes is definitely achievable! Your goal should be realistic. This means that your goal should be something that you can actually achieve, given the resources and time available to you. For example, if you only have four weeks to train for a marathon, setting a goal to run a personal best is probably not realistic. However, setting a goal to improve your marathon time by two minutes is definitely realistic! Your goal should be time-based. This means that you need to set a deadline for yourself in order to stay on track. In the example above, you could set a goal to improve your marathon time by two minutes in four weeks. This would give you a specific timeline to work with and help you stay motivated. Now that you know how to set goals using the SMART method, it's time to put this knowledge into action!

Envision the Future Setting goals requires envisioning your future life and where you want to go. This means having a clear and concise vision of what you want to achieve. For example, if your goal is to run a personal best in the marathon, you need to visualize yourself crossing the finish line with a time that is two minutes faster than your current personal record. What does this look like? How does it feel? By envisioning your future success, you can stay motivated and focused on your goal.

Take some time to answer the following questions before moving forward. Your long-term goals do not have to be related to your sport only. They could be related to personal or career goals as well.

Where do I see myself in one year?

Where do I see myself in three years?

Where do I see myself in five years?

Where do I see myself in ten years?

What is your biggest dream?

Let's begin making your long-term goals SMART.

What do I need to accomplish in order to be where I want to be? Remember, long-term goals take time to accomplish.

List your long-term goals in the chart below and check whether each goal is SMART.

Now let's take those long-term goals and break them down into medium- term goals. Medium-term goals generally take between four to twelve weeks.

What steps can you take daily as your short-term goals to help achieve those medium and long-term goals?

Staying Motivated to Achieve Your Goals One of the most difficult things about setting and achieving goals is staying motivated. It is easy to get discouraged when you don't see results right away or if you have a setback. However, it is important to remember that progress takes time. Trust the process and be patient! Todd Elik was never supposed to make it. The NHL draft came and went without his name being called. He was passed over by every team multiple times. But instead of letting that discourage him, Todd used it as motivation. He worked harder than ever before and eventually made it to the NHL. Elik was always a gifted player, but he really came into his own after joining the Rangers organization. His 100-point season in the IHL showed everyone that he had the potential to be a top scorer at the NHL level, and he didn't disappoint. Elik may not have been the biggest or most talented player, but he always gave 110% and left everything on the ice (Todd Elik, n.d.). Your motivation should come from within and not from what people say about you. If you allow others to dictate how you feel, you will never reach your potential. Surround yourself with positive people who support your dreams and goals. These are the people who will help push you to achieve greatness!

What keeps you motivated? It is important to have an answer to this question because motivation ebbs and flows. There will be days when you don't feel like working towards your goals, and that is okay! On these days, it is important to think about what keeps you going.

What keeps me going?

Celebrate Accomplishments Along the Way One of the best ways to stay motivated is to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Acknowledge how far you have come, and be proud of your progress! This will help keep you going when times are tough.

What are some recent accomplishments I can celebrate?

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