What’s your goal for next week? What’s your goal for the month of July? What’s your goal for the Summer? How do you set and attack a Goal?
Preparation is the key to reaching peak performance. To be prepared is to consistently have your thoughts, feelings, and bodily responses at the right state at the right time. The consistency that is required to reach peak performance and compete day in and day out will never happen if practice and competition behaviors are left to chance. By creating a systematic approach to how we think about, feel, and react to different situations we can reduce the fear of the unknown and the stress associated with it. The goal of preparation is to create processes that we can employ daily, weekly, seasonally, yearly, in a warm-up, at practice, in a race, and after competition to improve our readiness to perform.
The first step in preparation is goal setting. Goals provide direction and purpose. While it’s important to set goals at the beginning of the season, keep in mind that goal setting can be performed whenever we need to focus, to increase motivation, to decrease anxiety, and to increase confidence. Good goal setting involves a team vision, a mission, or set of values as the ultimate goal. (The goal of the Renegade Rowing Team is to give rowers the resources, knowledge, and experience needed to compete on the water and in the gym.) After that there are both long-term and short-term goals. Last come smaller targets that when reached bring us one step closer to the long or short-term goals.
The Goal Setting Dam
Goal setting can be thought of as a dam that creates a body of water for us to row on. The targets are small rocks and pebbles that fill in the gaps and support the short-term and long-term goals. The short-term and long-term goals are larger boulders that provide support to the concrete slab that is the vision, mission, and team values. When we set goals we pour the concrete slab first, then we set the boulders, then we fill in the small rocks and pebbles.
In order to always have a body of water to row on the dam must be maintained. Goals only work if they’re looked at regularly. If targets aren’t being reached or serving a purpose, remove them and replace them with better ones. The same goes with short-term and long-term goals. Set goals, but continually reassess them. We will aim to set and reassess our goals once every month.
When building the dam and setting goals it is important to remember there are two types of goals, process-oriented and outcome-oriented goals. A process-oriented goal would be getting body preparation by half slide or maintaining a tight midline through a squat. An outcome-oriented goal would be winning a championship or squatting 300 lbs. Our dam should be filled with both, but the more process-oriented goals the stronger the dam. Process-oriented goals will help us reach our outcome-oriented goals.
Most of All! Set goals that are …
Positive, specific, and controllable. Positive, meaning they “add” and “do” things instead of avoiding them. Specific, meaning they’re focused, tangible, and not vague. If needed they could be measured. Controllable, meaning it is up to us to achieve and manipulate our goals, not some outside force. We should have the power to affect change and control the goal. So, start setting goals. While you do, always ask, are my goals positive, specific and controllable?