Goal Setting

Posted: January 3, 2012 in Coaching Philosophy, Psychology
Tags: , , ,

The New Year seems to always be a good time to reflect on the past year and evaluate goals for the upcoming year.  So it would be a good time to discuss proper goal setting for 2012.

I like to have our players set long-term goals (about 10 years away), mid-range goals (4-5 years), and short-term goals (this next year).  We have them set goals in three areas: life, academics, and soccer.  Life goals are things you want to see in your personal life in relationships, spiritually, or work.  Academic goals apply specifically to our players because we want them to be focused on why they are in college.  Not only setting goals for a specific GPA, but finding a career-related internship, or applying for graduate school.  Finally soccer goals are related to their playing career.  Specific marks on the fitness tests, making the varsity team or the starting 11, and hopefully some goals related to the success of our team in the upcoming seasons.

For my personal goal setting I’ve broken down my goals into three main categories as well: spiritual, life, and career goals.  Spiritual goals are related to my walk with Christ and being the spiritual leader of my family and my team.  Life goals are related to my health, personal growth, and my relationship with my wife and friends.  Career goals are obviously related to things I’d like to accomplish in my program, or related to club and other outside coaching interests.

Finally I want to discuss some rules related to goal setting that I’ve picked up along the way.

  • Goals must be specific, measurable, and written down.  Goals that are not measurable might as well not be goals.  We need to know when we’ve achieved a goal or missed the mark.  Instead of saying, “I want to improve my fitness” we should say, “I want to be able to run a 5K in under 21 minutes.”  Make it something that is specific and you know you’ve hit it.  Then write them down!  Nothing is worse than taking the time to set goals and then forgetting them.
  • They must have an established time limit or deadline.  Goals that don’t have a deadline are bound to be pushed to the wayside and put off because they don’t seem important or urgent.  Having a time limit on our goals forces us to establish a sensible plan of action to address them.
  • Goals must be attainable, but they need to stress us.  In the field of exercise science we have what’s called the Overload Principle.  Our bodies need to be stressed and overloaded to see improvement.  You don’t physically train at a rate that doesn’t take any exertion, you push yourself so you start to see improvements and the work rate becomes easier.  It’s the same way with our goals, we need to set realistic goals that are attainable, but that will stretch us to grow and improve ourselves.
  • We need to keep our goals in a prominent place so we can see them on a regular basis and be reminded of them.  It’s the same reason we write the goals down, so we are constantly reminded of them and keep striving for them.
  • When we achieve our goals, or miss the target, we need to re-evaluate the process and seek council from others to consider what we need to change the next time around.  Asking mentors to help us walk through the process and offer any wisdom and insight can be an invaluable process.  They might have a point of view that is extremely valuable, or experience in this same area that would help us side-step unforeseen challenges.  Set up a periodic time to evaluate your goals and your process of achieving these goals.  New Years seems to be the natural time to do this, but we should have periodic times throughout the year as well.

I hope you all have a blessed and prosperous 2012.  We should always be striving for more, and stretching ourselves to new heights.

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