Friday, 15 June 2012

Motivation and Goal setting

Second blog post!  I can't believe I've come so far (lol).  Before I get started, I'd just like to say that I'm gonna try to post something every week from now on.  Thanks (in advance) for reading!

There are a lot of things that I love about my (and hopefully your) sport.  I love the places skiing takes me, all of my great ski friends, the tough training it takes to be competitive, and of course, skiing my ass off on the race course.
Unfortunately though, there are a couple things that I am not too fond of, and, ranking right up at the top of this is... (imaginary drum roll)... GETTING UP EARLY IN THE MORNING!!  Almost every morning when I get up there is only one place I want to be-- still in bed.  Heh, what a fool this guy Zeke is, you think.  Of all the things to complain about, why would he pick something so childish?!?  But seriously, as stupid as this sounds, I find it really hard to motivate myself to climb out of bed in the morning.  
In getting up in the morning, and in xc skiing in general, motivation is, obviously, key.  And, at this point in the year, motivation is a commodity that many skiers (myself included) can be lacking.  
Going to another level completely, I would make a blatant generalization and say that North Americans tend to be unmotivated as a society.
To combat this lack of motivation, in the spring months of skiing when the Winter seems so...far...away..., or, in any other aspect of life, one can use a very simple tool: goal setting!  Before all you other athletes out there disregard this blog on the count that every coach/parent/mentor has bugged you in the past about goals and you feel like you would rather curl up and die than be patronized about how important of a mental training tool they are, ask yourself this question:  are you, at this point in time, setting goals effectively??  If you are, then go ahead and disregard the rest of this blog (but know that I will be sad if you do).
If you answered No! to all the above, then, unless you are being facetious, you are not setting goals in an effective manner and on a regular bases.  I highly recommend that you change this truth right now.  The setting of goals can turn a mediocre athlete into a high level one, a directionless lost-soul into somebody like Tony Stark (IRONMAN!!!!), and a “lame” person into less of a “lame” person.
For those of you who want to be awesome like Ironman, here are FIVE tips and tricks (Trix are for kids, okay!?!?  ...silly rabbit...) that will help you, and have helped me, with goal setting.
Goal: walk all the way across slackline
1) Goal setting is a tier system (in my opinion) and is organized based on the time frame it takes to achieve the specific goal.  Thus, you should set multi-year goals (i.e., Get a doctorate in something; Qualify for the space Olympics), yearly and monthly goals (win World Juniors; get an A+ in the study of Awesomenessity this semester), and finally, tiny, weekly or daily goals (focus on technique instead of speed; finish studying without jumping around like Br’er Rabbit).

2) When you set goals, you should come up with things that are not completely unreasonable and impossible to achieve (impossible is nothing--but you got to take baby steps to get there) but, at the same time, are not so easy that there is no challenge in completing them.  This is kind’a tricky; there is really no magic pill to find balance in goal setting--you’ll have to figure it out yourself.
3) WRITE THEM DOWN!!  What I’ve done is hang a big piece of paper on my wall, and write my monthly goals in chronological order, as I get to them, starting from the top, and working my way down to my goals for the year, which I have written at the bottom.  (It seems I am too unmotivated to write down my daily training goals).  I find that putting up my goals on my wall is important, because then I get to see them frequently, and they seem more physical and immediate--if that makes any sense.  Not only that, but when you achieve them, you get to light ‘em up with big happy check marks :)  ...I highly recommend writing down goals.
4) DREAM BIG!!  Dreams give birth to goals and smart people turn their dreams into their multi-year goals.  Ultimately, the line between dreams and goals should be blurry, because you dream about what you are passionate about and, if you are not passionate about your goals, you might as well stop right now.
5) Give yourself a reward, like, a cookie, when you complete a goal.  I like cookies :)
You will find that if you have “tiered” goals that are challenging, yet achievable, they will act like rungs in a metaphorical ladder that you can climb to achieve greatness in whatever it is you are passionate about.
Hope that my post about goals and motivation has helped you out!  If you yourself have any goal setting advice, I’d be stoked if you took them time to type it up in the comments.
Dream big, people