Dreams, Goals and Aspirations

Here are some of my favourite tips for setting goals that are effective and achievable. Remember they need to be realistic, and you need to take action on them if you really want to reach them!

1.  Set a deadline

A goal, they say, is a dream with a date. In other words, unless you set a deadline by which you intend to achieve your goal, it will always remain a dream and out of reach.

2.  Start with the end in mind

What do you want to achieve with your sport? Do you want to reach the Olympics? Qualify for the national championships? Become a coach or skate in shows?  You need to know what end result you want so that you can map out your route.  The end result will be your BIG GOAL, your overall Vision. Once you know that, you can work out the stepping stones which need to be in place along the way.

3.  Head in the right direction

It’s one thing setting a big goal, but it’s quite another getting there. You will need lots of smaller goals (those stepping stones I mentioned) to help you on your way. If you just think about the one big goal all the time, you can easily get swamped – overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of the task ahead. But if it’s broken down into lots of smaller mini-goals which you can achieve as you move forward towards your Big Goal, you’ll find it much easier.

4. Get a support team in place

Think about what ‘resources’ you will need to help you achieve your goals. This could be people resources or time or money or things.  It might be Mum or Dad ferrying you to and from the rink and school. It might be access to a gym. Or a strength and conditioning coach, ballet classes, or someone to help you with your mindset and competition nerves.  Work out what you need and ask for help.

5.  Work with your coach

Your coach knows your abilities and sees how committed you are (or aren’t!). He or she will be in a good position to help you achieve your goals if they know what they are. Talk to your coach and tell them what you’d like to be able to do by this time next year. Ask them what they think you need to focus on in order to make it happen.

6.  Write them down, then draw them too.

There is a very respectable school of thought which believes that writing your goals down makes it much more likely that you will achieve them. And what’s more, drawing them too engages both sides of your brain and gets that goal firmly etched onto it! Never mind all the apps – use some good old fashioned pens, pencils and paper. The more colourful, the better.

7.  Listen to your Inner Champion, not the Gremlins

You will know if your goal is truly achievable and realistic. If you really believe it is, then work hard, with the utmost determination and discipline. Ignore the gremlins – whether they are outside gremlins or part of your negative self-talk.

8.  Turn “I can’t” into “I can”

Even if you haven’t done something before, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do it. You have already proved to yourself that you can learn to do something which was really difficult when you first started. At the very least, if you absolutely insist on saying “I can’t” then add a “yet” onto the end!

9. Review your goals

Goals aren’t set in stone. Sometimes we get part of the way there and decide we’d like to aim for something else instead. You might want to be a coach, but then hear about the life of a show skater and find that’s much more appealing. Your Big Goal should make your heart sing. So review it every now and then by checking in to see that it’s still what you really, really want. You. Not your mum, your coach, your best friend. You. (Though your mum and coach might have some really wise words of advice which is worth listening to).

10. What next?

It’s also important to go beyond your Big Goal and think about what happens next. Many young world champions or Olympians have achieved their dream goal while still in their 20s and then don’t know what to do next. Think about what it will mean for you to achieve your Big Goal and what it will do for you and your life to have achieved it. What could you do next,having reached that ‘final’ step? That will get you thinking about the next Big Goal…

(Read more about goals in my blog entitled “You’ll get there faster with a plan”)