When it comes to setting goals, you must take into account what you want to achieve in a realistic manner. We all have seen and used the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to set goals. The acronym is great as it sets a great guide. As a review,
S - Set SPECIFIC goals: Don’t just say you want to win a tournament, say which tournament you want to win
M - have MEASURABLE goals: Will you know for sure when your goal has been achieved?
A - Use ACHIEVABLE strategies: Passing 50 balls a day to improve the accuracy of your passes is an achievable strategy.
R - REALISTIC goals: If you are a beginner in your sport, is it realistic to set a goal of playing in the next Olympic Games?
T - TARGET obstacles: Identify some things that may hinder you from achieving your goals (eg. injuries, lack of focus, lack of time).
An extension of the S.M.A.R.T acronym, there is the addition of E.S.T. These letters are important because they hold you accountable for achieving them. Setting goals and maintaining the posture to achieve can be tough. Utilize the next three letters for accountability purposes.
E - EXHIBIT goals: Make sure your goals are posted where you can see them; have visual reminders of what you want to achieve
S - Seek SUPPORT: Let your parents, coaches or teammates know what you are trying to accomplish so that they can help
T - TIME-BOUND goals: Place a time frame on when you want to achieve your goal (eg. Next season I want to be on the Natl. team)
Types of Goals
Goals are important to ensure that you have a good performance and create a path to success. When you think about your goals, you need to create goals that build your skill and your performance. There are three types of goals to help you achieve your success. Utilizing the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. acronym described above, set Process, Performance, and Outcome goals.
Process: This goal is a goal that you do every day, weekly, or monthly that you can control to help your success. For example, for a marathon runner in training, a process goal would be to run 6 miles a day for two weeks to build stamina.
Performance: This is a goal during the performance. This is something you can do to help your performance to show your ability. For example, for tennis players, you can focus on following through on your swing. This is something that will improve your returns and overall performance.
Outcome: This goal is hard for some people because this is something you REALLY want to do. However, there is no guarantee that this will happen like you can with the process and performance goals. For example, winning the Drive, Chip, Putt competition. The reason you cannot guarantee success is that there are other golfers that are working as hard as you that may have a great day or just be better at the skills than you.
Is it okay to accept 2nd place, yes, for sure. Setting goals is to help you get better and stay focused on your performance. There is nothing wrong with not reaching your goals as long as you implement what you can control. There is this stigma that people are taking on and putting out that if you fail you are not good enough to be successful. This is not true by any standard. No college recruiter or professional scout recruits or scouts the team. They are looking for individual athletes that work hard and want to be successful.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Set your goals that are appropriate to build your success and understand that success comes from smart planning, hard work, and time.