In the spirit of 2011's inception, I thought I would discuss one of the make-or-break factors in achieving one's goals: having a realistic reference point. What exactly does this mean? It means having a tangible piece connected your goal, something very clear, very real and non-ambiguous; whether it is an actual object, such as a photo, quote, or poster of an inspirational athlete, or hard numbers you desire to hit.
In order to achieve true athletic success, it often takes more than wanting to "play better", "run faster", or "be tougher". What does playing better, running faster, or being tougher mean to YOU? What images does this conjure up? How fast is fast? What does playing better look like?
Here are some examples of "reference points" an athlete can use to help solidify a goal:
- Models: can be anybody that personifies what you want-for example, a basketball player wants to control his anger uses Tim Duncan of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs as a role model for shaking off bad calls.
- Numbers: This may seem self-explanatory, but having solid numbers for a final product, plus at least 3-4 numbers to hit in progression is helpful. For example: Final goal: a .350 Batting average. Starting avg.: .280 (March), April goal of .300, May goal of .325, June goal of .340, July goal of .350. Time it as you see fit, but be realistic and allow for some "wiggle room".
- "Victory Images": Mental pictures of you succeeding at various conjunctions of the season.
- Past Successes: Great springboards for what one's capable of and knowledge of where to build upon.
Forming a reference point is one of the first and most important phases of the game. You know you've got it right when it comes readily and habitually to you and reinforces a sense of optimism. Find what works for you and see your performances unfold.
Here's to a productive 2011!