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There is not a better time of year to work on your goals. While many people use this time of year to set their New Year’s resolutions, most do not succeed. A commonly cited statistic says that only 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions. This is not a great statistic as it means 82% of people do not succeed. Ouch!

I was recently asked how I keep my resolutions and thought this might be a great topic for our gymnasts (and anyone else). After all, a New Year’s Resolution is simply a goal. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that I view my New Year’s Resolutions as a such, regardless of the time of year. I tackle my goals by making them SMART goals. All of my goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and have a Time-frame.
I’m a huge fan of writing down my goals. Below I will define my adaptation on the SMART technique and give a short description of my process:

Specific: Goals should be clear and specific. The more specific the goal is, the easier it is to stay focused and motivated to achieve it. As I write the goal down, I typically ask myself a few questions.
a. What do I want to accomplish?
b.Why is this important?
c. Who or What do I need, if anyone to be involved?
Example: I want to get my Kip on High Bar. This is important because it will help me score better. I will ask my coach what I can do to help me achieve this.

Measurable: Goals should be measurable so you can track your progress. Depending on the goal, I sometimes use Motivated instead of Measurable. If a goal is not measurable, you need to keep motivated to achieve it.
Example: I will do 20 Kips every time I am on bars. I will have my coach hold me accountable. I will ask for corrections, conditioning, spots, etc. It also helps to record your progress in a journal to compare where you started and where you are going.

Achievable: Your goals need to be possible and realistic, or you won’t be motivated. Be sure you think through any obstacles and create a plan to help you overcome them. You must make sure the odds are good for you to accomplish your goal. Otherwise, you will be setting yourself up for failure and overwhelming frustration. If your goal is unrealistic, you won’t be motivated and will have a difficult time achieving it. Be sure you think through. You might ask yourself a few questions:
a. What are the obstacles I need to overcome?
b. Am I capable of completing this goal?
Example: Am I strong enough to do this Kip? Is this something I can do at my skill level?

Relevant: Your goal should be something that is meaningful to you. Goals made to satisfy others are much more difficult to achieve and stay motivated towards. This goal should be Relevant to you and should drive you. Some questions to ask might be:
a. Is this goal worthwhile?
b. Is this goal for me?
c. Will this goal help me achieve my desired result?
Example: Will this Kip really help me? Do I really want to do this or is it my coach making me do it? If I get my Kip, will it really help my score? Is this Kip a stepping stone that will lead to bigger skills or help my long term goals?

Time-Frame: Every goal needs a time frame or an ending. To me, this is one of the most important factors in the goal setting process. If you don’t place a time frame on something you are less likely to complete it. A time frame provides two things for me; 1. Incentive to complete, not just the goal, but 2. the steps needed during the process. I admit, some goals are harder than others to put a time fame on, but you must try. If a goal goes on and on, the time wasted could have been used on other things. Questions that might help:
a. When do I need this by?
b. What can I do right today to help me achieve this goal?
c. What milestones can I set up leading up to my target date?
Example: I want my Kip by the State Championships. I will meet with my coach today and make a plan to achieve this. I will track the number of attempts I make. At the end of each week, I will get evaluated by my coach to make sure I am on track.

While we might have a set of annual or long-term goals/priorities, short-term goals build confidence, good habits and reward hard work. By having more victories, or what I call “Quick Wins” you’ll build a strong track record and create more momentum. Be careful not to forget your long-term goals. These are super important as they force you to grow, keep you headed in the right direction, and provide a sense of greater accomplishment.
For success, I do my best to create a healthy mix of short- and long-term goals. I do evaluate, track and adjust my SMART goals on a regular basis. At times injuries or circumstances force us to alter our goals. It comes down to two choices: We can leave things up to chance and hope things happen, or we can take action and create our own future. This works in gymnastics and in life.

My final words of advice- Dream big, set your goals, and take action! Sharing goals helps…share yours with us on @AllGymnastics to be featured on our Instagram account.

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