I wanted to post this yesterday and call it ‘Mental Moxie Monday’ but I didn’t get to it in time, so here we are on Tenacious Thinking Tuesday with what will be a weekly, or more likely, bi-monthly love letter on training our mental game.
This week’s topic is on goal setting.
Setting goals is critical to your success on and off the track. Stay committed to evaluating and changing your goals as you need to. We’ve talked about creating and monitoring goals for practice and games – have you been serious about doing yours?
If not, then let’s start with one goal.
Keep in mind that goals should not become expectations that weigh you down. It’s one thing to have a goal and work toward it and evaluate it often and it’s another thing – a not so healthy thing – to place high expectations on yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, you definitely should set challenging and appropriate goals, but also be mindful not to add the heavy burden of having super strict expectations for yourself.
Why are expectations so harmful to goal setting? Numero uno, you’re narrowing your focus on ‘outcomes’ and that sets yourself up for a win/lose situation. You either achieve those expectations or you fail to achieve those expectations. And if you don’t achieve them, it’s too easy to question your ability, and bum yourself out… and give up… and throw a pity party that nobody wants to go to.
Psst, you play a full contact TEAM sport, so uh, don’t set yourself up for failure before the first whistle even blows! Making and not meeting high expectations for yourself will make you feel like you’re failing to meet your goals. Sound familiar? Anyone here ever feel frustrated with your progress? Yeahhhh…
So anyway, we don’t want that to happen (anymore)! So let’s be a little kinder to ourselves, and figure out how to establish good, healthy, and productive goals:
Good goals are specific and measurable. Healthy goals match your abilities, yet are still challenging. Productive goals include a timeline.
And for the love o’ Pete, state your goals in POSITIVE terms please. For example, you might say, “I’m going to improve my offense containment.” That’s a positive and wonderful statement. A negative (and therefore craptastic) statement would be “I’m going to stop screwing up my offense timing.”
We hate that. It just tastes bad.
You want to focus on the areas you want to improve – this isn’t the time or place to give any damn attention to negative behaviors that you want to reduce.
You see what’s going on there? Focus on the positive. That sh*t is a much better fit, and I promise you that your brain and your body can do magical things together with positive statement goals.
Your goal must focus on process and performance, NOT on outcomes.
Here’s a breakdown checklist to review, if you need it, when you work on your goal setting this week:
- Identify a specific action or technique that you want to improve.
- Make the goal and its benefits quantifiable. That means that you estimate how many hours or practices you’ll work on a goal – and what you’ll get out of it while you are working on it.
- Make it attainable, given your abilities as a skater, and as a human with a life outside of roller derby.
- Get out of your comfort zone – yet also be realistic about it – that’ll ensure that you will likely be successful if you put in the work.
- Give yourself a time frame to meet your goal. Such as, “I’m gonna nail this in 4 weeks!”
Again, remember that as you work on your goal, you’ll make adjustments in order to adapt to your personal needs and to your progress, so don’t get discouraged if your first goal evolves into a different goal or if it takes a little longer than you thought at first! Solid goal setting is not a one-time event.