This blog was written for clothing company SheShreds.co, I am so happy to have been asked to write regular features for them on the topics of mindset, goal setting and performance for sport. SheShreds.co are a clothing company based in the USA who empower and support women athletes especially in traditionally male dominated sports such as snowboarding, motocross and wake boarding.
Dream Goals & SMART Goals
Goal setting for sports (well anything actually!) is a tricky thing. There are dream goals, and there are SMART goals and they both serve a different purpose. Dream goals are the ones that drive you to perform at your absolute best, the ones that get you up in the morning to train when the sparrows aren’t even up yet, the ones that get you out training with the weather is like judgement day – they are the ones that make you up your game. The SMART goals are the ones that create the activities that you do in the dark and the rain.
Setting Your Goals
But what about exactly WHAT goals to set? Often at the start of the year or a season we decide to set our goals, particularly if we are competing in our chosen sports. The key thing to consider here is ‘are the goals I’m setting within my control?’
To give you an example ‘I want to win a specific competition’ this is a great objective but is it really within your control? Nope. You can’t control who you are up against in a competition, what others do in a final, what the weather does, what the conditions are like. This is an OUTCOME goal.
To look at this further, you as an individual, or your team, can only control what you do, what your PERFORMANCE is. And to deliver outstanding performance you need to focus on the PROCESS – the daily grind of training, learning, skill improvement, practice, fitness etc.
Of course you need to create outcome goals they are what drive us, winning competitions is a healthy dream goal, these are the ones that drive us to perform, compete and train, but they are outside our hands for delivery. We need to focus on our performance to give us the best possible chance of winning. So that brings us to setting SMART goals for delivery.
SMART goals are the Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound ones, creating and achieving lots of these will lead to you excelling at your Performance and giving yourself the best possible chance of winning. So for example one of your Process goals might be to improve fitness levels so it might include. ‘HIIT workout for 3 times a week’, this gives you better fitness and stamina to compete harder. For me in the world of Dog agility my performance comes down to the percentage of clear rounds I get in competitions – not making mistakes, performing at my absolute best to give me the best chance I can of qualifying for finals and having a chance at producing that final winning run. What takes me to delivering that performance is the weekly training – to teach my dog what it needs to know, improve my handling, build my fitness.
Process and performance lead to outcome. You need to do your daily work to achieve your dream goal, keep on driving relentlessly to get what you want. This doesn’t just apply to sport but pretty much to life in general.
Focus on You
The other great thing about thinking this way about your competitive activities is that it takes you away from comparing yourself to others. You are focusing on you and your performance, rather than what other people are doing. Upping your own mental game is critical for achieving your best, and it is so easy to be derailed by negative comments, mind-games from other competitors and supposedly ‘helpful’ supporters – you know the ones – ‘that would have been great if only…..’ ‘it’s such a shame that x happened’.
So, stick to your own path, run your own race and let the outcomes take care of themselves.
Coz McLavy – SheShreds Ambassador – Dog Agility, Canicross, Snowboarding
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