Goal setting is a crucial part of any athletic journey, it aids in maintaining motivation, keeping an athlete focused and most importantly allowing PERSPECTIVE. Perspective is a bit of a buzz word that is thrown around but when used appropriately can be the difference between a junior athlete transitioning to the senior ranks and quitting at age 18.
Young athletes have a lot going on in their lives and as training load concurrently develops with high school pressure goal setting is a healthy way to allow them to move forward without getting overwhelmed.
Athletes, especially junior athletes are very good at setting long term goals. However, when it comes down to setting process goals along the way they commonly forget about the journey and only see the destination. So instead of celebrating that 0.23 second personal best they are focused on the fact they didn’t hit that long-term goal. Over time the weight of expectation from themselves will eventually cause them to drop out of the sport.
Let’s be honest here, most athletes are that overachieving type A personality so anything less then their absolute best is often just not good enough. So it’s important to find some healthy ways to keep things in PERSPECTIVE (buzz word) and maintain a balanced emotional state as their career progresses.
If my time as an athlete has taught me anything it’s that having the right influencers in your life is the difference between achieving your goals and emotional chaos! So, here are my top 5 tips when it comes to being the best version of yourself on your way to your goals!
Process goals are so important! Set small stepping stone goals along the way, this will help you celebrate the victories and focus less on the set-backs. You will always be pushing towards that next goal. If you don’t set yourself small process goals it’s hard to stay on track because you never feel like you are progressing. Try not to be so hard on yourself ALL THE TIME, so much easier said than done. Personally, I like to meditate daily, this helps me keep PERSPECTIVE (buzz word) and stay focused on what’s important.
Reflection is such an important tool to maintain PERSPECTIVE (buzz word). It’s really easy to get caught up in how far you are away from the goal when really you are a lot closer than your were 6 months ago. Find a healthy balance between pushing forward to that next goal but also remember where you came from. Reflect on how far you’ve come and all those barriers you overcame to get there. We are resilient, trust that when you are facing your next hurdle because it’s always the hardest right before your next break through!
Someone very special to me enlightened me to a fantastic reflection tool and it really stuck with me! This is my one of my favourites! Picture yourself achieving your long-term goal, it doesn’t matter what it is, but you got there. Let’s call this person ‘future Lisa,’ now this is the fun part, write a letter to yourself as that person. So in my case if future Lisa could write a letter back to present Lisa, what would she say? What advise would she give? Sometimes as much as we are our own biggest critic we can also give ourselves the best advise. Trust yourself! I find future Lisa can be so insightful! 😊 This a great way to gain that PERSPECTIVE (buzz word).
3. HAVE A OUTLET AWAY FROM YOUR SPORT
Have balance in your life, sport can be all consuming especially when you have big goals. It is important to take a step back and switch off from day to day. Personally, I like to do puzzles I find them a great metaphor for my life and their super calming. I also enjoy writing poetry and painting. You are more than just your sport so start exploring some different aspects in life and remember a healthy balance allows you to be even more focused at training!
4. FIND YOUR TEAM
Being an athlete is not easy, you feel like there is constant judgement from everyone and you are often your biggest critic. So it’s important to find your crew, the people that love you wholeheartedly regardless of the outcome. These are the people you should listen to. At the end of the day, you are in control of your destiny, so regardless of what is being said you need people in your life that stay positive and remind you to EMBRACE YOUR AWESOMENESS!!
Even the best of us can get caught up in the ‘what are people thinking’ spiral. So having a strong team to help you stay focused on what is really important is the key to not allowing things outside your control to influence your performance. This kind of network is built up over time and takes perseverance to find the right people. Trust yourself, because you will know what you need!
5. HAVE FUN
This is by far the most important tip! It is so easy as athlete to get caught up in expectations and goals but at the end of the day being an athlete is super cool. There is a very small percentage of people that will ever get to experience what you are experiencing so EMBRACE IT. As an athlete we experience anxiety, self-doubt, worry, stress, nervousness, excitement, fear, joy, happiness, elation, devastation, pride and the emotional rollercoaster continues! So embrace the journey, encourage these emotions because if you are not feeling these things then you are comfortably chilling in your comfort zone and no one ever achieved anything from there! Enjoy the journey and have fun!
Watch this space for Lisa’s next blog! 🙂
Check out another article by Lisa on Osgood Schlatters in junior athletes: https://starttraining.net.au/osgood-schlatters-start-training-solutions/
Photo Credit: Casey Sims
By Lisa Campbell
National Champion Women’s Pole Vault – 2019
Oceania Representative 2019 – 3rd Place
Commonwealth Games Finalist – 2018
World Cup Representative – 2018
State Champion – 2017, 2018, 2019