It is a common theme for athletes who are passionate about their sport to set goals for themselves, as it is also common for coaches of athletes under their guidance to encourage this process. You see goals give an athlete direction, they give a person direction. It is a point in the future where the athlete wants to be. Without goals, athletes tend to go through the motions.
Oh sure, they may work hard and really have fun at what they are doing – all important things, but real inner accomplishment, well…that becomes much more difficult to achieve without direction, without goals.
Within this process of goal setting, an athlete will quickly discover the gap (sometimes a large one) between where they are and where they want to be – that goal or objective they are wishing to accomplish. This is inevitable, the nature of the beast, so to speak.
However, this gap can become problematic for an athlete seeking to achieve goals, something discouraging to them as they visualize where they truly want to be – from where they currently are. It was in dealing with an athletic gap like this myself that I stumbled across a perspective that helped to bypass the negative aspects and unhelpful focus this spread can bring. And in my case, this spread between where I was and where I wanted to be was a chasm.
The perspective I learned (something that came about through a conversation I had with my father after some discouraging realizations) had to do with viewing my training on a more daily basis of improvement. Instead of constantly looking at how far I was away from what I wanted to achieve, and visualizing my lack of “giant” steps toward that objective, I focused on getting just a little better each and every day.
It was not that I forgot my end point altogether, for that in and of itself is why one trains, but that I gave myself the opportunity for self-satisfaction by achieving smaller victories regularly – daily . Just seeking slight improvements in my skill set (every piece of my skill set) in this manner made everything more manageable. Like climbing a ladder one rung at a time, one day at a time, with each rung being that much closer to your ultimate goal which lies atop that ladder.
What I discovered through this process was a much better and more rewarding approach. It is a perspective I strongly encourage athletes to take since it builds a foundation of achievement from the bottom – up (where they are at, to where they want to be) by piling one small success on top of another. The kind of success that a person has control over since that success is governed by them, the choices they make, and efforts they put in.
In total, not much different in analogy than when one goes from the first floor of their home to the second floor by putting forth the effort to climb the many steps it takes to reach that second floor, each small step they take brings them that much closer to the next floor. They don’t just stand at the bottom and leap with one jump to that second floor, how daunting would that be.
Learn to climb that ladder of athletic success by using the perspective described above and watch what happens. You will quickly realize, as did I, that doing so is a much more efficient and effective way of achieving your goals.