With the switching of calendars comes the all too common New Year’s wish:
Many people’s New Year’s Resolutions refer to weight loss, a career change, or a new outlook on life. But, for athletes and coaches, what does “change” really mean? Does it refer to something that can be seen or touched, like a different workout regimen, a new schedule, an alteration of pace or program? Or does it mean something less material, like a switching of attitude or perspective about the game overall?
Any of these things can affect an athlete’s performance for better or worse. But, without solid performance goals set in place, measuring those changes will be difficult and possibly even pointless.
Human beings are natural record keepers. We like to know where we’ve been so we can know where we’re going. From warfare to finances to relationships, recordkeeping, whether written down or merely kept in mind, whether consciously or not, is in everything we do.
That’s why goals are so important. Without clear goals we won’t know how much we’ve changed from who we used to be.
Let’s utilize the letters of the word “change” to help us focus:
Talking about performance goals for the new year doesn’t mean straying from reality. Remember: we’re discussing goals, not fantasies. It’s great to dream about accomplishments and athletic grandeur – winning a championship or Olympic Gold – but those are often more distant ambitions, and, right now, we need shorter term, less daunting, “stepping stone” goals.
Consider goals that can be reasonably accomplished within a year. Then, write them down! Don’t get carried away. Ambition is great, but keep a steady head!
Everyone in sports – from coaches to new players – has at least one mentor. Think back to what they’ve told you in recent weeks and months. Really hear what they have to say and keep those pieces of wisdom in mind as you craft your performance goals for 2015.
Have a sit-down with them and talk about your thoughts for the upcoming year. Furthermore, I strongly encourage you to journal those discussion(s) so you can refer back to your mentor’s advice later on when you’re not feeling so assured and confident.
You know what you need to do, now DO IT.
Map out (with clear objectives and target dates) your anticipated progress over the next few months. When time comes to begin your athletic transformation, make a course alteration and don’t look back.
"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." -Satchel Paige, American Baseball Player
January 9th is about as far as most people make it with their resolutions. Not counting New Year’s Day itself, that’s only one week of keeping to a preconceived plan! What gives? Negativity, that’s what.
Negative thinking tends to snowball, burning down our confidence before we’ve even given ourselves a fighting chance.
Battle negativity with positive affirmations, meditation, and encouragement. Remember those words of advice from your mentor you journaled? Now’s the time to read through them.
If you need more than words on a page, have a heart-to-heart with your mentor or a colleague and share your frustrations and get some feedback. A paper by the Psychology Foundation of Canada states, “self-disclosure and sharing with others can help us to become our most ‘authentic’ self.”
When you share your troubles, you’ll likely find the person you’re talking to has experienced the same setbacks and can help you over your own hurdle.
Growing takes effort, time, and patience. Give it to yourself.
"You can’t rush excellence." -Mary-Kate Christensen
Long trips often involve detours and unexpected trials, and going a year (or more) without expecting those bumps is unrealistic.
Work hard toward your performance goals but don’t slam yourself when you miss the mark. Pick yourself up, forgive yourself for the slip, and get back on the road with a hearty focus on the next milestone.
C – consider the possibilities
H – hear
A – alter your
N – negativity burns
G – grow your new self
E – expect detours
With a positive, ambitious, and well-planned path ahead of you, there’s no way you can lose! Maintain the course and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the “new you” in 2015. See you next year!
What are your athletic performance goals for 2015? Share them below with the Positive Performance community!