Setting The Right Goals

How did you get on with your new years resolutions? Did you achieve what you set out to do? Maybe they’re still “work in progress” or maybe you just didn’t bother at all. Wherever you find yourself right now take heart because you can achieve your goals, you may just have to realise what they really are first.

We make new commitments to ourselves that we hope will lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle or maybe to become a fitter, more skillful player achieving better results. These new resolutions, however, tend not to last. But why do they fail? They are, after all, great intentions that would lead to the sort of positive outcomes that we’d really, really like. So what goes wrong?

It most cases they fail for two simple reasons:

1) You’ve bitten of more than you can chew. You’ve overpromised on what you can really deliver and you don’t have the commitment skills to get you there.

2) It isn’t what you “really” want.

Let’s explore those reasons.

The first one is quite self-explanatory. Let’s say you want to become a fitter player, to be able to run around through an entire game putting in bursts of speed that leave your competitors eating your dust. So you set off to the gym for those extra training sessions. Three times a week for about an hour should do it. And for a while you manage it but then reality bites and work, studying or family matters demand your attention and your positive new routine is broken, never to be reinstated. Your progress is halted and you slide back to where you started.

The second reason new resolutions fail is far more subtle but far more powerful. You see the reason what you think you want is not actually what you really want is because you’re using the conscious thinking part of your brain to try to override your powerful subconscious brain. It’s a bit like the pilot of an aircraft trying to turn a plane that is set on auto-pilot. Imagine you get on a plane at Heathrow and you set off on a flight to New York. Once up in the air the pilot sets the auto-pilot to fly to New York. Now if you decided you wanted to fly to Miami instead, you would have to turn the plane. If the pilot does this he will have some short-term success but once the auto-pilot detects the plane is off-course it kicks in to adjust the flight path back to New York. Your subconscious mind works in a similar way.

The way you are right now is where you have programmed your auto-pilot to take you. Your fitness level, skill and attitude all reflect that programming and your programming is set mostly by your beliefs (limiting or otherwise). The belief about how good you can be, the belief about how fit you can be, the belief about how much time you available, the belief that other things are more important, the belief that it’s the taking part that really matters etc. etc. etc.

So if you really want to change the way you are, you must first understand what your beliefs are. You then you have to challenge those beliefs before setting new beliefs that move you to a new destination.

To help you with this answer the following questions:

  • What do you know to be true about the way you play your sport?
  • How do you know this is true?
  • How would you know if it wasn’t true?
  • How would you “really” like to play?
  • What would have to happen for you to believe that you can play that way?

When you think about the answer to the last two questions begin to visualise yourself performing that way and talk to yourself as if you are already doing it right now. Repeat the exercise as often as possible and the process of imprinting a new set of beliefs will have begun.

You may never get to be the player of your dreams but you will certainly progress from where you are now.

Enjoy the game!


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