GOALS

Kelly Wynns

Zoom Meetings will continue this week.  We have had to add a password to all of the ZOOM meetings (Zoom policy).  The Meeting # is still the same 955-416-0055.  The password for the Gold group is GOLD.  The password for the Silver group is SILVER, and the password for the Bronze/Beginner group is BRONZE.  Meetings are still at 6:00pm

 

Goal Setting

 

Have you thought about what you want to be doing when we are able to return to swimming? Are you clear about what your main objective at swim practice is? Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of your swimming career?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction, including your swimming; it also provides you with a plan for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can't simply say, "I want" and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful thinking of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that lead to the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to make goals that you can accomplish.

 

The Five Golden Rules of Setting Goals

The gold group has gone over these 5 rules of setting goals in the past, but it is always a great reminder.

1. Set Goals That Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you as a swimmer, not your parents or your coach: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value to you in achieving them. If you are setting goals to please someone else, i.e. parents or coach or a friend, and you have little interest in the outcome, or the goal doesn’t mean anything to you , then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.

Set goals that relate to the priorities in your life. (Getting into college, top of your class at graduation, state/national champion).   Goal achievement requires commitment and perseverance. When you don't have commitment, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal happen, which in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating.

Tip:

To make sure that your goal is motivating, write down why it's valuable and important to you. Ask yourself, "If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?" You can use this motivating value statement to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence.

2. Set SMART Goals

You have probably heard of SMART goals already.  We have discussed this many times in the gold group.  But do you always apply the rule?  The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART.  There are many variations of what SMART stands for but goals should be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

 

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Many times when I asked kids to write down their goals, I will get “I want to make a state cut.”  That is an example of a very vague goal.  When I have asked them to be specific, I tell them that I need them to determine what event they want to make a state cut in (50 Free, 100 Fly, etc) and then they need to know what that state time is.  It is very hard to go after a state cut in an event if you do not know what the cut is.  Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up. 

An example of this would be:  “ I want to make a state cut in the 50 Free.  The cut is 28.59.  My time right now is 30.49.  In one month, I want to swim the 50 Free in 30.05.  By the time the 2nd month comes around, I want to swim the 50 Free in 29.59.  At the Regional meet, I want to swim the 50 Free in 28.40.  I know that to make this happen, I need to regularly attend practice, give 100% effort at practice and follow what my coach tells me.”

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise times, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only disappoint yourself and erode your confidence.  An example of this would be a 9 year old saying that they are going to make an Olympic Trials cut at the end of the season. 

I once had a 12 year old boy that told me that he was going to make a state cut in the 50 Free in 3 months.  He knew what his goals was, but when asked what the state cut time was, he had no idea.  He was also a swimmer that very rarely came to practice and very rarely went to meets.  I sat with him and we discussed his goal.  We went over what the state time was, what his time was and how regularly he attended practice.  He determined that he was 40 seconds away from the state cut.  I did not want to discourage him, so we worked out a plan of practice/meet attendance and a progression of time drops in order for him to achieve his goal.  When he left, he was much happier because he had a plan and a vision for his goal.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be disappointing at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.
Michael Phelps

 

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the what you want your life and swimming career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you'll waste your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

 

3. Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word "will" instead of "would like to" or "might." For example, "I will make a state cut in the 50 Free by Regionals," not "I would like to make a state cut in the 50 Free by Regionals." The first goal statement has power and you can "see" yourself making the state cut, the second gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.

Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. One swimmer even wrote his goal for the 500 Free on his hand paddle so that he saw it every time we did a pull set.

4. Make an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.

5. Stick With It!

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity.  It should not be a time to write your goal down on a paper and then put it in a drawer or a notebook, never to be seen again until you clean out the drawer.  Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and review your goals regularly.  Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly.  You have to learn to be flexible as situations within society change. 

In Conclusion:

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it in the first place, your odds of success are greatly reduced. By following the Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.