Goal Setting: Dream Big, but Dream Smart
It is the commencement of a new athletic season. September marks the start of many new beginnings in athletics. This is always an exciting time for an athlete because during this time you can decide whether you want to compete for leisure, strive to become an Olympic Gold Medalist, or something in between. It is not that simple though! First, you must set your season goals. There is much more that goes into setting goals than simply just thinking about them. This lesson can also be applied to all aspects of life.
There is a famous saying that states, “A goal is not a goal until it is written down.” Michael Phelps was known to do this. He used to keep a book of everything he wanted to accomplish. Take time to figure out what you want out of the season and develop a clear path of how to get there.
One can do this by developing three types of goals: practice goals, mid-season goals, and most importantly end-of-season goals. Be smart in developing a plan of action. Practice goals are made to keep you on track to achieve the end goal. The mid-season goal check-up should be used to reevaluate. If you are behind schedule, make a change. If you are ahead of schedule, you have the ability to readjust the end goal.
It is crucial to share your aspirations with coaches and teammates. They will be there for guidance and encouragement. A good coach or teammate will make it impossible for you to ignore the goals you have set when the season gets tough (and trust us, it will).
Athletes also must understand that it is your responsibility to achieve your goals; coaches and teammates can only provide the tools necessary. At the end of the day, it is all in your hands. This is one of the things that make sport so great: What you put into it is what you are going to get out of it.
One of our favorite quotes is from Muhammad Ali: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
An athlete must commit to his/her goals everyday and never look back. A trick to staying motivated is to write your goals on paper and tape it above your bed. It will be the first thing you see after you wake up and the last thing you see before you go to sleep. The pain and sacrifice you feel during your training will be rewarded tenfold when you accomplish the end goal. Even if you come up short, at least you can rest easy knowing you failed with grace and dignity. So athletes, dream big if you dare, but you must commit to your goals!