I’ve recently heard a few of the top coaches and athletes in the most popular American sports say that they love to win, but hating to lose underpins their competitive drive to a greater extent. That’s one reflection of what spurs each of us on to reach our goals. No matter how you explain what pushes you to new heights, certainly the root of it all is that it feels great to reach a goal, and nearly unbearable to miss the mark when so much has been invested. We are all willing to embrace some pain if, in the future, we feel we have a pretty good chance of avoiding the unbearable feelings of missing the mark.
Everything should and can be done to avoid missing the mark. First develop goals. With goals, a plan should be devised to increase your chances of reaching the goals. Without a plan, the chances of reaching a goal are extremely low. A half-baked plan will yield half-baked results. For the greatest likelihood of attaining your goals, the plan should well-developed and broken into phases, each mini-phase with its own specific mini-goals and ways to measure whether those goals have been achieved. If within a mini-phase, the metrics indicate that the mark has been missed, then adjustments to the plan can specifically address the shortcomings. Wandering through a season without measuring progress while sampling a variety of approaches as you go won’t work well.
We have a tendency to chart a new course at the New Year. This is the perfect time of year to define your goals. Goals for this upcoming season will be based on a number of things that vary from individual to individual. How competitive and motivated an individual is will certainly color how aggressive the goals are.
To establish the specific goals and how each mini-goal will contribute to the overall goal attainment, recollect the way the past season played out. Take a close look. Note the highs and lows, and identify those factors that contributed to the way you performed, the way you felt during your training, and how it felt to race. A close look is invaluable. It can shed a great deal of light on what the goals should be and how step-by-step you plan to get there.
With well-defined goals, write the plan. Take one phase at a time and know that the process is fluid. Start your first phase with establishing an exercise schedule/rhythm. With that should come increased base fitness. Emphasize working on your weaknesses in the early stages of the plan. But remember, a successful season starts first with goals. Dream big.