Have you ever found yourself thinking this way?

“I hope this is a better season for me”

“I really want to score more goals”

“I wish I could improve faster”

These are not the thoughts of a focused athlete.  Wanting and wishing will not get the job done, and hoping defies a weak expectancy.  Unless you want to join the millions of disappointed New Year’s resolution-setters this year, get in the know about what it takes to set an effective goal that will get you to your destination.

Dream goals are important for vision and motivation.  You might dream of the Olympics or a National title.  This desire can serve as fuel for those tough times and help make the necessary commitment to move toward what you want.  But, a dream goal is a type of outcome goal, which when used exclusively can cause undue stress and reduce confidence.  An outcome goal has to do with a particular objective result (win or lose).  We can never have complete control over results, as there are many variables that come into play on any given day to influence competition.  So you might perform a personal best but still feel defeated because you didn’t win. 

For the sake of your confidence you will also want to set process goals, which are based on personal performance targets or skills to be developed.  These are the types of goals you do have control over, and are the way you ultimately build your belief in yourself as an athlete.  A process goal should define what you will do each day specifically in training.  For example, improving endurance could mean higher reps or longer cardio sessions.  The process is definitely tied to the outcome, and makes it more probable of attaining what you want, but most importantly it defines the action you must engage in every day.

It can be said that every medal and every championship will be won or lost at home, in training.  The more iron clad your process, the more your performance seems to take care of itself.

Finally, be sure to write it all down.  Invest in an appealing new journal and make it your new best friend.  Take it everywhere, recording not only your goals but other elements adapted to your own preferences.  For example:   training schedules, motivational quotes and pre performance routines.

So this season, don’t just wish for better results, plan to make them a reality.