Reality check: it’s January 2.
Are you 2-for-2 on your resolution?
What are the odds you stick to it for the next 363 days?
Do you even know what your goals are?
Knowing + reaffirming your goals on a consistent basis is essential to staying on track.
But where do you start? Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal System to stay on track.
[ S ] Specific
First, establish what it is that you’d like to accomplish. Are you striving to learn a new skill? Set a personal benchmark?
Lay out exactly what you desire. Only then will you know what steps to take in order to get there.
Outlining the details of your goal means knowing who’s involved. Does this goal require the involvement of others? Who are they? When are they available?
Know how to answer all of these questions in order to avoid smacking into the wall of “what do I do?!”.
“I am a varsity starter.”
[ M ] Measurable
Inevitably, some days will be more productive than others.
The key is to recognize when you stray from the path and recalibrate to get back on course.
But how can you tell if you’re “on track”? What evidence shows you that you’re making progress towards your goal?
Establish a goal that you can quantify. For example: “I will become a varsity starter”. This goal can be measured, with a definitive answer as to whether or not it was achieved.
Keep the process fulfilling by rewarding yourself for milestones along the way.
Take the example of starting at the varsity level: to become a starter, you must first make the team. Reward your hard work that led to your making the team. Celebrate this win, and use it as confirmation that you’re on track.
“I am a member of and starter on the varsity team.”
[ A ] Achievable
Before setting out to achieve a goal, be sure that goal is...achievable!
Is this goal something you can immediately begin working towards? Or are there preliminary steps you must take before going after it?
Using the previous example, you must first make the team. To make the team, you must try out.
Step one of this goal is to identify when tryouts take place. From there, find out any/all information you can about your school’s process. Communicate with your coach and ask questions:
Is it a single-day tryout, or multiple days?
What should I be prepared to do?
Are there specific traits the coaching staff is looking for?
Asking questions displays a genuine interest and willingness to work. It shows that you’re not only willing, but able to research + develop a plan. It shows a thought process that goes far beyond “show and go”.
“I am trying out for the team. I am a member of and starter on the varsity team.”
[ R ] Relevant
Stick with the example above: start at the varsity level.
Does this plan align with your big-picture goals?
If you aspire to play your sport beyond high school, this goal pairs well with that.
If you have a larger goal of starting a successful business before going to college, playing a varsity sport may not align with your larger purpose.
Determine WHAT YOU WANT, then identify what will get you there.
“I am trying out for and making the team. I am a varsity starter on my way to playing at the next level.”
[ T ] Time
Setting a time-frame for your goal will keep you moving forward.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is often the first step. If you set a time frame, it forces you to take action!
No time to delay...overthink...hesitate...or fear...just good ol’ fashion ACTION!
Even if you’re unsure: DOING, then learning from mistakes is infinitely better than no action at all.
Set a time frame and follow it up with action by any means necessary.
“I am trying out for and making the team. I am a varsity starter during the 2021 season, and I'm on my way to playing at the next level.”
[ Next Steps ]
With your goal clearly outlined, revisit it DAILY.
Not some days...or most days. Every. Single. Day.
Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll frequently see (your bathroom mirror, on your dresser, etc.).
Reinforce the idea that you are already on your way. Use present tense; The wheels are in motion.
The train is moving.
I am doing this.
THIS IS HAPPENING!
Instill in yourself the idea that this is not a matter of what if, but when. I am achieving this goal, it’s just a matter of how quickly I get there.
There will be rough patches. You will question yourself. You won’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This plan serves as the thing that sets you straight; it brings you back to why you started and reminds you of what you’re working towards.
Buy into this process with your entire being, and your actions will follow suit.