Goal setting isn’t enough
Some athletes never struggle. Competitive pressure stokes their fire to perform their best. Athletes who compete to win are driven by something greater than goal setting strategies. The reason to win is more than timelines and numbers.
Yes, they work toward specific performance milestones, but with a twist. Witnessing these athletes in action is like watching poetry in motion. They’re driven to be the best in their category, refusing to settle for anything less.
Rebekah Tiler lifts heavy things. She’s quickly creating a buzz in the weightlifting community. That’s because forty-seven British records were broken by the time she was 14y/o. And many of those records were hers from earlier in her career.
Going beyond goal setting
As you can imagine the junior events quickly became too easy for her, even when she competed against the boys. So now at age 15, she’s making her mark at senior competitions. Currently, she’s Britain’s weightlifting champion.
It doesn’t stop there. The next big goals and objectives for Tiler are to compete in the 2016 Olympics. Yes, setting goals for a specific challenge is important. But that’s not enough. Something else that’s pushing her to win is what I call “Your BIG Why.”
10X your goals
Setting goals is good, it’s better than nothing. What’s really cool is that understanding “Your BIG Why” is like 10X’ing your goals. This is when you’re encouraged to dream big. In fact, no dream is too big. This process works best when you create a highly personal vision that excites you although you have no idea whether it’s possible.
Here are 5 reasons for knowing “Your BIG Why:”
- Connection. Connect your current short term goals to your ideal vision.
- Course. You’ll stay the course through the dips and plateaus during your athletic career by focusing on your vision.
- Capabilities. It’s easier to excel when you tune into your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
- Catalyst. You’ll go further when you’re super excited.
- Creative. It taps into your creative mind, knowing it would be a “dream come true” if you achieved that level of performance.
How it works
Here’s how it works for Tiler. Her current competitions are preparing her for the Olympics. The possibility of winning gold in 2016 is a long shot. By the time the 2020 Olympics come around, she’ll be well positioned as a gold medalist.
Tiler’s still working her way up. She hasn’t maxed out yet, or hit a plateau. Sooner or later she’ll hit a limit. Then the focus shifts to the long term purpose. It’s this point which separates the champions from everyone else. That’s because champion athletes seek insights from failure.
Her sprint coach jokingly suggested she take up weight lifting. Although his suggestion was serious, she took his advice. That’s when she realized her strength far excelled her speed. Weightlifting was a perfect fit for her.
This leads to the catalyst. Weightlifters fail all the time. Each failed attempt is a building block, helping her to gain insight before the next attempt. Here’s where she’ll have to push her own limits, staying mentally tough.
The creative part is really important. It’s important to periodically get creative. This means stepping aside from what you know. An open mind allows Tiler to explore alternative possibilities. Eventually something will click, it’s like a stroke of insight, leading to a performance breakthrough.
The purpose behind the goal
By now you may be wondering how to achieve goals that are so BIG. The good news is that this can work for you too. Before an important competition I will assist athletes, either by Skype or phone, for a strong start at go time by connecting their current goals to their BIG Why.
Athletes who are deeply connected to their purpose will achieve more. This simple strategy delivers results. Athletes, without fail, warm their muscles prior to the start. Many goal setting activities exist. The mental game warm-up gets your head ready to compete. Like your physical warm-up, this activity sets you up for a strong start at go time.
So here’s something to get started. Your mental game warm up combines previous winning experiences with your current performance expectations. This gets you zoned in by creating a strong, compelling visualization of what you aim to achieve.
Steps to create your mental game warm-up:
- Review your game plan for your event
- Specific descriptions are best
- Add in rich examples and details
- Only use positive statement
One of the things shared by top athletes is clarity about why their pushing themselves to do more and be more, day in and day out. It’s so simple, but frequently overlooked by athletes. You’ve got to know why you’re in it, what’s your vision and purpose … and constantly remind yourself why.
Challenge: What are some examples of goals you’d like to achieve this season? It’s best to write them down. Then describe, in writing, how to achieve your goals. Even if you don’t know all the details that’s okay. Goal setting is not enough. Who’s available to help you? Then describe “Your BIG Why.”
What’s your personal reason for challenging yourself? Finally, practice your mental game warm-up before practice and prior to your event.
How you’ve used it and noticed a difference?