5 Tips for Achieving Your Athletic Goals
1. Link Your Goals to Your Values
Motivation can stem from deep within, grounded in your personal values. By channeling your values, you are able to maintain the practice of new skills as well as drive toward achieving challenging goals, even if they feel boring, tedious, or anxiety-provoking. When this occurs, reflect to yourself, “Is this really important to me?” Think about your values and how they align with this goal. How would doing this positively affect you in your life? By linking your actions to something that is personally meaningful to you, it makes you far more likely to do it!
2. Embrace Small Steps
A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. That being said, if a goal seems to be too large, make it smaller. For example, if 10 minutes of mindfulness practice is too much, try cutting it down to five minutes. Ask yourself, “On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is ‘I will definitely do this no matter what,’ and 0 is ‘there is no chance I will do this,’ how likely are you to actually commit?” If you give yourself less than a 7, try changing the goal to something smaller or more realistic!
3. Carrot vs. Stick – Be Kind to Yourself
Sometimes, individuals find themselves trying to become motivated by being harsh, self-critical, or judgmental of themselves. However, this is not an efficient way to become motivated. If being overly tough on yourself made you better, wouldn’t you be perfect by now? That being said, try “dropping the stick.” This means setting yourself free of the incredibly high expectations and harsh judgments and replacing them with the practice of self-acceptance and self-compassion. This allows you to “create a carrot” by linking your action to values and reflection of the positives. Acknowledge each step as being “in the right direction” and find ways to reward yourself. For example, telling yourself, “Well done,” keeping a journal, or talking to peers.
4. Prepare for Obstacles
When setting a goal, it is often helpful to ask yourself, “What might possibly get in the way of meeting this goal?” Once you are aware of the obstacles, you can begin planning on how to navigate them. You might be thinking, “What if there is no possible way around the obstacle?” If this is the truth, perhaps a different goal must be set.
5. Find Support
Social support from people in your life can be a huge motivating factor! Share your aspirations and achievements with a partner, friend, relative, or peer. Find those who will encourage, challenge, and support you throughout your journey. There may even be a club or group in your community that you can join for this very reason. Hint: these people are often NOT on social media – they’re out in the real world!
– Allie Wagener, PhD, LP | Sport Psycholgist