I’ve got a great goal for 2016… so now what?? How to actually achieve your goals instead of giving up on them by the end of January!
It’s January, which means that you have very likely set some goals for the year. Often they haven’t taken you long to think of and they might be something you wanted to achieve last year but haven’t done yet. How long did it take you to come up with the goal? How long have you spent thinking about how you will actually achieve it? Is it something you want or something you feel you “should” do? All good questions that highlight just how easy it is to come up with an idea that we want to follow. Great! So what can you do to really help yourself to achieve it?
The down side to just coming out with an idea is that it probably hasn’t been that well thought through and you are very likely to come across difficulties that make the goal seem too hard to achieve, so you either give up on it or lose interest. It is easy to come out with perfect and very real excuses that put a stop on the path to the goal. That’s because we nearly always think of all the great reasons for achieving the goal with no thought at all for the downsides to either achieving it or the journey to get there. Then you start to believe that it wasn’t the right goal for you and maybe loose the motivation to get over the hurdles and achieve it. You give up on that one but it might still be there eating away at the back of your mind.
Have a think about your goals. Take one of the biggest ones. Now think about it using this model to really explore it and work out if the goal is right for you. Examine each point in the order below –
Positive – What do you want (or maybe what do you not want)? This is normally your goal written down.
Evidence – How will you know when you have got it? Think about more than just a product goal such as a win or a score. Think about a physical feeling, a picture of where you will be or something that doesn’t rely on external influences (over which you have no control, like a judge’s opinion)
Context – When and where do you want this (or not want it)? Be really clear on this as it helps to make the goal more specific and therefore achievable.
Self – Is this something you (and your horse) can achieve by yourself? Yes you might need a support team around you (we all need a team) but is it crucial that someone else behaves a certain way or you won’t get to the goal? If this is the case then you don’t fully have influence over your goal. Think about any factors that you don’t have control over – are there any ways you can get more influence?
Advantages and Disadvantages – we nearly always think of the advantages – have you thought of the disadvantages? Not only of achieving the goal but in getting there. Will you lose out on things if you have to put in more training time, competitions and time with sponsors (time with friends, money for clothes, holidays and trips etc). Are you prepared to not have these things in order to get your goal? Think even further too. You qualify for “event A”, which was your goal – now what does that mean? More time, money and effort etc to get to “event A”. Are you prepared to work with the consequences of achieving what may have seemed like a brilliant goal when you set it?
Worthwhile – Now you’ve thought of all the things above, is it still worthwhile? Are you still fully motivated to do whatever it takes to get there? Are you fully supported and have what you need to make it happen (or a plan to get what you need along the way)? How will it feel when you achieve this? Some Olympic athletes have been known to crash with depression after achieving the Gold because they haven’t thought beyond the goal and what it will mean. Their lives change because it’s not all about getting Gold anymore and they haven’t thought about what they will do afterwards. Do you then have to keep being the best and what does that really mean?? So think about the consequences of achieving the goal.
Using the model above helps you to examine your goals in depth and work out if you need to change then or come up with new ones. Then these become your real goals that you are truly motivated to achieve and you can start planning and working to get them into reality. That’s really exciting!!