Goal setting improves motivation and performance. Sounds kind of obvious, but that sentence holds the key to improved result, regardless of what type of training you do.
Self-regulation is a process whereby you use planned thoughts, feelings and actions to get to your goals. Although this process of self-regulation is important, the most important aspect of it is the actual follow through. In terms of goal setting, you need to understand your current position and then set a realistic new position to progress to.
By regularly setting goals in any activity you do, research has shown that in itself would elicit a better result than simply doing the activity to do well or better.
By tracking your performances, you should be able to monitor progress and establish reasonable goals along with typical gains, but closer to where you want to be by a certain date. The initial investment of logging your past or current results pays off! In addition, by goal setting, you’ll spend more time on the areas you need or want to gain in and less time in areas where you are more proficient or ahead.
An important factor is to set goals which are based around your personal achievement and that progress, rather than goals focussed on how you compare to others. Those are outcome goals, and although they’re also motivating, they’re often too long term, and by goal setting around your performance, you’ll see better incremental gains which will see you comparing a lot better and faster to those other athletes.
Some top tips to follow include creating specific and measurable goals, both long and short term goals, goals on what you will do and not on what you won’t do, date by when you want to achieve these milestones, and be flexibility built around monitoring and changing these goals.
The acronym SMART is worthwhile remembering:
Specific – don’t set vague goals, be very detailed.
Measurable – quantify your goals along the lines of how often, how many and how much.
Action-Oriented – follow through is easily the most important part.
Realistic – make sure they’re within reach and attainable, but definitely not easy.
Timely – set dates to attain goals, but make sure that is also realistic.
There are various methods on how to stay motivated, but one thing is for sure; by goal setting you will get your mind-set right so that you’ll sooner achieve those goals.