Making Effective Goals
Measuring and monitoring improvement is one of the most important parts of youth sports. That is why effective goal setting is so important for young athletes.
A well thought out, sensible goal is one of the best ways for a young athlete to measure themselves and their improvements. Effective goal setting is a tool every athlete should have in their toolbox.
A Quick Note
This article and the corresponding Mental Gym activity that goes along with it focuses on making effective goals. In most cases, this means short-term goals, that are meant to highlight the improvement in the near or immediate future.
This does not mean having huge goals for yourself is a bad thing. In fact, it is probably best to have big goals to strive for, as long as you supplement those goals with these short-term effective goals that act as stepping stones along the way.
So dream big, but use these tips to help you gauge your own improvement along the way!
The Formula for Goals
Goals are important because they help you remain focused on all the things you are working towards. Effective goals not only give you something to strive for, but they also act as a way to evaluate your improvement and success.
There are four simple guidelines to keep in mind when trying to form effective goals:
- Keep them few in number: You don’t want to have too many goals, because then things can get pushed out of your focus if you have too much going on.
- Make them SMART: SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
- Write them down: As we discussed in our Champion’s Time article, writing things down really helps cement them into your mind. Having a written list of your goals will help them become ingrained in your day-to-day thinking.
- Review them regularly: This step allows you to figure out what the next step is after a goal is met or achieved. It can also help you reflect on what is setting you back or going wrong for a goal that you are still working towards.
Breaking Down SMART Goals
As previously discussed, one of the most important aspects of making your goals is ensuring that they are SMART. Let’s take a deeper look at each letter and see how to apply them to goals you set moving forward.
The S in SMART stands for specific. The reason a goal being specific. A specific goal is important because it sets exactly what you want to accomplish into focus. When you have a specific goal, it also makes it easier to keep track of your progress.
Next up is M, which stands for measurable. Making your goals measurable allows you to better track how things are moving along.
If you can’t actually measure your progress towards a goal — how can you tell if you ever accomplish it?
Having measurable goals make it much more tangible and makes the goals you have to seem more attainable because you actually have something to shoot for.
After M we have A, which stands for attainable. This just means don’t place goals that are way outside of your current abilities and are inconceivable. It’s fine to have long-term goals that you strive for, but they should all be within the realm of possibility. Don’t limit yourself, but always remember to keep things in perspective.
Then there is R, which stands for relevant. All the goals you set should have some practical use in your life or in your sport.
Finally, the T in SMART stands for time-based. If you give a goal a date or time period to achieve it by, it creates a sense of urgency and will push you to work to reach that goal by the due date.
You can learn more about setting effective goals that will reveal your improvements! Check out our Mental Gym workout on this exact topic by searching for it HERE.
Not a Mental Gym subscriber? Upgrade your account today!