To be a good athlete, you need strong motivation. However, levels of motivation can vary throughout the year. So it’s important to find ways that spark your motivation. One of the best and proven ways to keep on track with your athletic plans and increase motivation is through goal setting.
What better time to set goals than the New Year?! As an NASM-certified personal trainer, I was taught to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Smart goals can stand for:
How to Set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
I’m going to give an example of how you could set a S.M.A.R.T. goal if you’re a figure skater. Maybe you’re working on your double axel and wanting to set a goal to achieve it. You are very close to landing a clean double axel (only a quarter-turn cheat away).
Specific: You set your goal to land a clean double axel in 2 months by a specific date. You’ll write: “I have a clean double axel on March 7, 20_ _.”
Measurable: The nice thing about skating jumps is that they are measurable. You can tell if a jump is rotated all the way around by looking at your landing tracing on the ice, having your coach watch and evaluate your jump, and/or having your jump videotaped.
Appropriate: You and your coach should have decided that getting a clean double axel is a priority for your skating right now.
Realistic: This is similar to appropriate. It should be realistic that you could land your double axel clean within 2 months. If you’ve never started working on a double axel before, it wouldn’t be realistic to set a goal to land it clean within two months. Even though this could happen for certain skaters, it’s unrealistic for most.
Time-bound: Your measurable goal goes along with your time-bound goal. Your measurable goal is that you’re going to land it clean. Your time-bound goal is that you will have it clean in 2 months on a specific date.
More Ideas about Goal Setting
The above goal is more of a medium-term goal. It’s good to set daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, medium-term goals of a specific number of months, and yearly goals. Find what works for you. Goals and affirmations of a certain consistency are proven to help.
Goals are not set in stone. Sometimes goals need to be revised. You may achieve a goal sooner than expected. Your goal may not be appropriate for you anymore, or it may need to be altered in some way.
Your goals are to help you get the most out of your practice and become the best that you can be. If your goals are getting you discouraged, I would advise speaking with your coach about your goals. You might be able to set up a plan of attack for goals that work better for you.
My sister-in-law, Chea, who’s a skating coach and Sport Psychology Consultant with a Ph.D. in Sport Psychology also has a helpful post on goal setting: Learn to Set SMART Goals in Figure Skating.
If you’d like a visual reminder for S.M.A.R.T. goals, here’s a word art freebie designed by my mom, Deb Chitwood, that you may print out for your goal book or locker.
To download word art, click here, then right click on the image and choose “Save Picture As . . .”