“A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Goal setting is universally vital for all sports, education, and in the workplace. Many of times, individuals set goals but do they really buy into the process/journey of being able to accomplish those goals? For example, let’s say my goal is to be a High School State Champion. In order to be a State Champion, many sacrifices need to be made. Some of these sacrifices may include being away from family and friends, traveling for competition/training, and staying disciplined in all facets of life (education, nutrition, training, strength and conditioning, extracurricular s).
Those are some serious sacrifices for a High School Aged Student-Athlete to balance in order to make their goals become a reality (not a wish). In this blog, we are going to explain how to make an effective goal setting plan that will help you stay on task regularly, give you some pointers that have worked for student-athletes of all ages/experience levels, and apply some examples of proper goal setting techniques.
Here are a couple of things that need to be noted before we talk about how to set goals:
Now let’s talk about how you can carry out and crush your goals!
When setting a goal, you should follow these three steps:
S.M.A.R.T. Method Goal-Setting Example:
S: “My goal is to become a High School State Wrestling Champion by March 2nd, 2019.”
M: “I will accomplish my goal of being a High School State Wrestling Champion by giving 100 percent in my physical/mental training, my studies, and in my nutrition every day. “
A: “This goal is attainable because I know that I am willing to put the work in to get to the point I need to get to. I will train smart and hard in both athletics and in my studies. I will also implement extra workouts into my daily schedule.”
R: “My goal of winning a High School Wrestling State Championship is realistic because my plan is to:
T: “ I will accomplish my goal of being a High School Wrestling State Champion by (roughly) 6:30 P.M. on March 2nd 2019.”
All in all, knowing how to set effective goals is so important in life. Always have your eyes on the prize, stay motivated, and crush your goals! If need be, please use this blog as a reference when you are ready to sit down and write your goal down.
1- Wakes up early. Mentally tough athletes fight the urge to hit the snooze button. They win the first battle which they know starts the night before.
2- Always on time. They get to class, practice and other obligations on time because its important and because its the right thing to do.
3- Open to feedback and criticism. They welcome feedback because they know they need it and that it will only make them stronger.
4- Stubbornly positive. Its hard to be positive throughout a long season. The ups, downs, wins, losses, bumps and bruises. A mentally tough athlete can remain upbeat and positive even during those tough times.
5- Understands values and purpose. They know their priorities and their actions reflect it. They lead a purpose driven life not a haphazard one.
6- Stands up for and helps others. Tough athletes are able to push not only themselves but others around them. They know what is right and encourage others to it.
7- Fights through fatigue. Mentally tough athletes can push through tough workouts and tough times. They know that the mind tires before the body and push themselves further and further. They get more out of workouts than most people.
8- Reads and Constantly learns. They maintain a "White Belt Mentality" and understand that they can learn something from anyone. They don't pretend to know it all.
9- Bounces back. It is hard to beat a mentally tough athlete because they refuse to give up. A loss is just a lesson and propels them forward instead of keeping them down.
***BONUS Number 10- They know that their MIND is their greatest weapon and do not let a day go by without developing it! The strongest people have great strength coaches and the mentally toughest people have great MINDSET coaches. Learn what Wrestling Mindset is all about Here!
Most of us would agree that life is fast-paced. Between juggling school, work, athletics, relationships, and self-care; it can all become a big race against the 24 hours we are given each day. Although the physical world we live in has constant movement and motion, what is often overlooked is the world that we live in within our minds, which is also in constant motion. The question is: what direction is the world of our mind heading in? We can't always stop the constant motion of the thoughts that run rampant in our mind, but we can definitely work on the positive direction these thoughts are heading in.
One of the biggest downfalls and battles that occurs in the minds of athletes is the view of themselves. This comes in many forms. From self-doubt, believing they are not good enough, and a failure to take risks. As athletes, we create an idealistic "self" and when we fail to meet these demands, or we compare ourselves to others, we create unrealistic expectations for ourselves which ultimately cause us to live cautiously.
Many times our self-doubt is really a fear of failure, a fear that we will never accomplish those dreams that are so dear to our hearts. When this starts to happen, the world we live in within our mind is heading into a direction of mediocrity. The excuse is "I'm just not good enough," but nevertheless, it is still an excuse that keeps us from becoming the best versions of ourselves. When an athlete stops comparing themselves to others, this is the beginning of taking ownership over what belongs to them; which is their mind.
So, how does an athlete take back their mind? They begin with being honest with themselves. Each athlete's respective sport has its demands. The demands are what makes the sport so special and it takes a special person to make such a commitment. Recognizing this will begin to change the athlete's mind to an appreciation for their sport. When an athlete is honest with where their mind currently stands, they can make the necessary adjustments to becoming stronger mentally, which will ultimately improve their athletic performance.
The second thing that an athlete can do is build their self-talk. Self-talk will build your confidence, but it must be something that becomes habitual. The idea that you are just not confident is a false belief system. This is because just like an actual sports skill; confidence can be trained. It is something that must be practiced daily. Self-talk can be expressed through affirmations, which are positive beliefs we have about ourselves.
Some of the examples of these can be "I'm a good person, I am strong, I am fast, I have what it takes, I can and will accomplish everything that I strive for." It can also be a realization that even if we do not meet an athletic expectation, it is not an excuse to fall back into negative self-talk, but we can use these affirmations to give us hope for the next challenge in our lives.
Self-talk can be added into morning routines, workouts, and rest periods. Our thoughts can often feel like a car running without brakes, but self-talk, when done properly, becomes those brakes we need for the vehicle of our mind. The way we talk to ourselves builds mental muscles in our brains that were meant to be stressed in a positive way. Just as our physical muscles grow, so does our mind. When we believe good things about ourselves, we push towards becoming both better athletes and more positive individuals.
One of the best things you can invest in as an athlete, outside of your hard work and skill building, is to understand how your mind works and how you can use it to your advantage. When you figure out what makes you happy, sad, angry, excited, scared, and so forth you have taken back control of your mind, and as a result you can add or avoid the things that bring about these certain reactions. Self-talk is one of many ways to take back control of your mind.
So, take a chance on fixing your mind. You know what negativity has gotten you, so try something positive. Small steps forward are still steps forward, so don't get caught up in the immediate result; instead enjoy figuring yourself out as an athlete and as a person, and soon you will reap the benefits of a more positive outlook that will create stronger performances, and most importantly, a stronger mind!
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