Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goal Setting Process

As Promised...

Last week we shared what we are doing with our team at the beginning of goal setting. This is the second installment of the process. It involves some personal thought and a bit of "homework" in that ideas and objectives need to be written down. We ask our swimmers to take their time with this process. We want their responses eventually but we are not pressuring them for their ideas. At some point we will declare we need everyone to turn in to us their work; however we feel it is important for them to take time to really think about their goals and the corresponding commitment to them. What follows is our handout from last week. Let us know what you think!

Goal Setting Process

This is not the only way to work when setting your goals. It is, however, a proved process and we suggest you consider the steps before moving forward. You will need a paper and pencil and a little time. You can begin whenever you want, take a pause in the steps, and then return as time allows. We do know this for certain, no one in history has ever made a significant improvement - and retained it - without writing a goal down. Please, at the very least do that much.

Step One: Take Responsibility.
If you are not responsible for something you cannot change it so this is the first and most important step. For instance, if you want to break 2:00 in the 200 and to do so you will need to get into really good shape and have excellent technique, then you need to be responsible for that part of the process. No one is keeping you from doing that.

Step Two: Investigate and Eliminate.
You are going to ask yourself a few questions so here is where the paper and pencil come in handy.
1 - Ask yourself what it is you want. Write it down...sub 2 minutes for the 200.
2 - Ask, why I want this. Write it down...I want this because it will qualify me for the next big meet; it will improve my chances for being on the A relay; it will help my college prospects.
3 - This one may seem counterintuitive but it is very important. Ask yourself why you do NOT want this to happen. Now you may wonder about this one...but of course I want this, why wouldn't I? Well, let's consider this for a minute...Now the coaches will expect more from me; to really get this I will have to miss some social functions and those may actually be more fun; I'm not sure I want the pressure of competing at this faster level...
The point here is that there are going to be ramifications in your current life if you actually dig in and make a change - said another way, if you set a goal, work toward it and then achieve it your life will be different and you need to be ready for that difference.

The main purpose of this second step is to find what you want and to eliminate those things that will stand in your way.

Keep in mind that the number one thing people resist is change; even if it is for the better! This is not rocket science. The way to change anything in your life: 1 - eliminate what isn't working for you and 2 - replace it with what you want.

If you know your stroke needs tuning up then simply do it...that is, work on the things you know need fixing. Ask one of us to help you. And then do it. Stop "trying" and start "doing". Even if you are only able to do it correctly for a lap or two before you get tired. Start now and work forward from this point. Think about this sentence: It takes preparation and work to make a change, large or small, but it does not take time. It may take time for anyone to notice the change but it doesn't take time to make the change.

So, get your pencil and paper out and start the process.

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