During this time it's important for us to set aside some time to reassess our aims and objectives going forward. Reflecting on why we do what we do, what makes us happy and even unhappy in order to understand ourself going forward. With so much uncertainty of the season ahead, giving ourselves some clarity of what we are working towards can repurpose our day to day routines.
Goal setting is an essential part of any sporting endeavour. It allows you to have targets to aim for whether they be short or long term, break them down, and work towards them in the appropriate manner. It is within our nature as athletes to work towards goals and without them you can find yourself lost and without purpose!
So what does this look like before and after Covid-19? Not too dissimilar... However, It’s important in times like this to have a re-think about both long and short term goals. What do you want to achieve over the next couple of years within the sport? This is especially important at the moment, as even if races look unlikely for this season, then you know what you’re working towards for next season and beyond. This can energize you for the grind that you’re putting in day to day and makes this period equally as important as it once was pre disruption.
The breakdown of goal hierarchy could look something like this:
Long term goals - 1-4 year plan of where you want to get to within the sport
In order to have the motivation to get in the water, on the bike or out for a run, its a good idea to have a long term goal in mind to give each year meaning. Having these set out takes the pressure off of the mid and short term goals and allows you to focus on the process rather than the outcomes. Whilst its important to strive to achieve the interim goals, you don’t want the additional pressure of not succeeding and not having that long term objective in mind. This allows you to enjoy the process far more and motivate you on a daily and monthly basis. Having that long term objective allows you to refocus and get going again in preparation for the next race or target, as its all part of the process going towards that final long term outcome.
Mid term goals - Season Plan - Milestones to achieve in order to get there (individual races and performance outcomes)
A season plan takes a long time to construct. Ordinarily you want to identify primary and secondary races or achievements and break this down into what you and your coach think it would take to achieve this with regards to physiology and then how you are going to reach that level within a working week which you then build up to slowly over the winter months. Prior to the first race of the season you want to be as close to your physiological goals as possible! This will probably be slightly fluid and change depending on circumstances (exhibit Covid19) but its important to reassess and make suitable adjustments whatever they may be.
Short term goals - Daily/ Weekly / Monthly targets whether it be physiological of process related that have been worked out between you and your coach that will allow you to achieve mid and long term goals.
This is the process of how you will achieve your goals and an essential part of what and why you do what you do. These will depend on you as a person and what you strive towards whether it be intrinsic / extrinsic rewards. Making these meaningful and achievable is essential for motivation.
Again, working with a coach to identify these is important as they can then modify accordingly to ensure your needs are being met without you losing sight of the overall objectives, whilst keeping you motivated and letting you enjoy the process.
That being said, even if you’re not working with a coach, or you’re not in a sport, identifying these short, mid and long term goals could be important at present to ensure you remind yourself that you have purpose going forward... as we do... we all do. Work with others to identify yourself and these things. Repurpose yourself if you need to. Shuffle those goals and objectives. Everything is relative, its how each individual responds to change that will make the difference.