Goal Setting for Greatness

Reprinted from Your Competition Handgun Training Program

Goal Setting for Greatness.

So it’s January 2010 and off we go into a new year!  Something that every successful person that I have ever met does is have goals.  This article will give you some specific guidance on goal types and how to set them.  

Setting your goals. There is a huge amount of information and research out there that proves that written goals are one piece of a successful formula.  Besides, goal setting my way is really just the first step in a good planning process for you to follow to get what you want.  Actually, after you are done writing your goals, you will have done your planning to meet your goal.  I break goals into three areas, end goals, performance goals, and enabling goals. In many other books I have read, I have always been confused about the goal setting process.  Please don’t let these three goal types confuse you, and remember, that no matter what you write down you will be 50% more likely to reach your goal after you just put it on a piece of paper.  The following definitions of my specific goal types should be easy to understand and follow, and I will give you my examples afterward so you can just copy mine if you want (personalize them to your needs though!).  I want to define and explain each of these:

  • End goals– End goals are the ultimate end state you wish to reach or accomplish.  If you could have everything you want (relating to the area we are discussing!), what would that be?  What is the ultimate end state if you do everything perfectly and all goes as planned? Set them yearly at a minimum.  Try to write your end goals so that they are realistic and in your control.  I don’t recommend specifically stating you are going to win such and such as an end goal itself, but as a part of an end goal.  For example, I like to write mine so that I have control over every aspect of the goal, and what meeting my goal will allow me to do.   Also, make sure you have a timeframe set and include that in your goal, even if it is a broad timeframe.  You don’t have to list the exact date you will meet your goal unless you actually have that date.  I add one more thing to my end goal statement and it is a WIFM (Whats in it for me) line.  This is a statement that captures how I believe I will be rewarded for meeting my goal, and you can list anything you want here that will motivate you to meet your goal.  This statement is very much personal, and everyone is motivated by something different, so don’t hesitate to be very specific and even selfish here, after all you are the one doing the work!  Here are a couple end goal examples, or good and one not so good:

Not what I would recommend– I will win the 2012 National and World Championships.

Good– During the 2010 and 2011 shooting seasons, I will put in the work and meet or exceed all of my enabling and performance goals, allowing me to be the best practical shooter in the world.  This will allow me to win the 2012 World Championships and numerous other matches.  

WIFM- (What’s in it for me?)  Meeting this goal will reward me with the realization of meeting my life long goal, one set many years ago.  I will reward myself with a vacation to Italy with my wife. (See how I slipped that in…now I get wife support too!)

Either one will work, but I like to accept the fact that I might not win a certain match or event if there is someone that shows up that puts in the same or more work, and has more natural talent than I do.  The truth is that I might get beat.  I like to be honest with myself and accept that I am not perfect, and focus on what I can completely control (my preparation) rather than what I cannot.  I can’t control who is going to show up, and what kind of preparation they do.  I can only control what I do.  One thing I know is that if I do my preparation like I have planned, then I will have a very, very good chance at actually winning whatever I am training for.  

  • Performance goals– Performance goals are goals that are specific to the matches and practice sessions you shoot.  They are the performance related goals you must reach in order to meet your end goal.  If possible, these should be metric goals that are measurable and thus improvable (numbers).  These are the things that you will have to be able to do to actually accomplish your end goals.  For example, if you want to win a World Speed Shooting title (Steel Challenge), you can look at the results from previous years and break them down into measurable performance related goals that you would have to be able to do to win that match.  You will probably set performance goals for each major event you wish to do well at.  Set them as many times per year as you want, and as your skill increases, keep raising the bar.  
  • Enabling goals– Enabling goals are the small things that you will have to do to build the skills and prepare your gear to allow you to reach your performance goals thus allowing you success at reaching your end goal.  Enabling goals are usually related to your training modules, so you may set a goal to meet or exceed your scheduled training blocks. 

Setting Your Goals- O.k., now lets get your goals down on paper. Get a piece of paper!  Better yet, get onto your computer if you have one and open up a word processing program so you can type your goals and print them.  This will allow you to have multiple copies and include one in your training logbook.  When you have the piece of paper or computer cranked up, answer the following to the best of your ability:

What do you really want to accomplish this season?What would be the best result you can imagine?When do you want to accomplish this/them?If there are multiple things you see yourself accomplishing if everything goes perfect, what are they?What is in it for you? End Goals
What will you have to be able to perform to meet your end goal?What are the performance related metrics that you think will allow you to reach your end goals? (List as many as you can think of) Performance Goals
What will you have to do to accomplish all of these performance goals that you listed? (Be detailed and specific here, this is where most of you real planning will take place) Enabling Goals

Ok, now that you have some goal raw material, lets take that information and write it in first person, future tense.  I normally start with “I will…” because it is more of an enabler if you write something as if it is a concrete statement that you will follow.  Then write your end goal statement (it might have pieces of your performance and enabling goals in it), and your performance goals, and your enabling goals.  To simplify this, here is an example. Once again, I remind you that smart researchers and scientists have conclusively proven that you increase your chances of success by writing your goals down, so this is my first assignment for you.  Here is an example:

End Goal: “I will meet or exceed all of my scheduled training modules and become the best practical shooter in the United States and the world in 2014.  This will allow me to win numerous championships including the U.S. National Championships and the World Championship.”

Performance Goal/s:  “In order to meet my end goal, I will be able to accomplish the following performance related goals:  

  • A high level of Mental Toughness
  • Good physical fitness
  • Two or less penalties at all matches
  •  90% accuracy hit ratio at major matches
  • Speed consistent of 95% of the stage winners on each stage at major matches
  • Marksmanship and Manipulation skills consistent with the top GM’s

These performance goals will allow me to perform at the level I need to in order to meet my end goal/s.”

Enabling Goal/s:  “I will religiously schedule and execute all of my training sessions, including mental, physical, live and dry fire, visual, and practice matches.  I will focus on actively visualizing during all live and dry fire sessions and I will perform passive visualization utilizing my previous good performances as an “internal video”.  I will prepare better than my competitors, and I will follow my yearly plan and go through all of the preparation steps in order to reach the success level that I desire. I will meet my performance goals specifically by doing the following:

A high level of mental toughness. 
Regularly use breathing techniques to improve my performance under stress.  Write and use a success statement to control my thoughts. Write and use a self-image booster statement to improve my confidence.Use passive visualization each time I read my self-image booster and in the evenings and mornings two weeks before an event.  Use active visualization regularly, in training session and during all matches.
Good Physical Fitness.
I will exercise 5 times weekly.I will eat 6 healthy meals per day, each small and nutritious. 
Two or less penalties at all matches.  
I will plan and visualize on all stages.I will use my success statement to keep my mind on positive thoughts at all matches.
90% accuracy hit ratio at major matches.
I will perform my training drills with 95% or more accuracy during all training sessions. I will use my success statement and visual cues to keep my mind on positive thoughts at all matches.
Speed consistent of 95% of the stage winners on each stage at major matches.
I will plan and visualize on all stages.  I will push to my level of control on all stages. I will use my success statement to keep my mind on positive thoughts at all matches.
Marksmanship and Manipulation skills consistent with the top GM’s
I will go through all planned dry fire training sessions weekly, paying attention to detail.I will execute all planned live fire training sessions weekly, focusing on performing perfectly. I will track my performance metrics and log the results.I will analyze and adjust my training sessions in accordance with my results.

Now go ahead and write your own.  Don’t hesitate to write more than one end goal (I recommend an end goal for every major accomplishment you wish to meet), and be very specific when you write your performance goals and enabling goals.  

Limitations-   The last step in your goal writing process is to look at your enabling goals and see if there are any things that will limit you or keep you from doing each of those things.  Limitations might be time factors, supplies, etc., but you will want to indentify them early.  Once you have listed your limiting factors, simply find a way to overcome them.  You might have thought that I would tell you some complex way to draw a bunch of columns and list this and that detail on a sheet of paper, but I am not.  Simple list the limitation, and next to it write how you are going to overcome it.  What happens is you have a limitation that you can’t seem to find a way around?  Ask for help!  That should be your first step in this program, so reach out there to someone you know that might have a solution for you.  Call or email me if you need to, but stay focused on relentlessly finding solutions.  If you stay focused on the solution, or finding the solution this will keep you in a positive state of mind.  Last but not least, I want you to understand that there is a possibility that you will realize that you might have bitten off more than you can chew when you were setting your goal.  If necessary, modify the goal, or even the timeframe that you set to meet it.  No problem! 

Regular Goal Review- One of my mistakes in the past has been writing good goals and then forgetting about them.  In truth, I didn’t really forget about them, but the intimate details of the goal (mainly the enabling part) often became lost in the busyness of daily life.  I STRONGLY recommend that after you write your goals, you conduct regular reviews of them.  Read them weekly at a minimum.  This can be done in conjunction with your training session, or maybe at a different time of the day, but either way, make sure you do it.  Read them in detail and make sure you are meeting the required actionable steps that will make them come true.  Your end goal should be a powerful statement written in first person that will boost your self-image, if read weekly or more, which is a good thing!  You will increase your accountability to the work that needs to be done to meet your goals if you review them regularly.  You can also modify them slightly if you want.  The truth is that our lives are often changing and you might realize that you set your goals to high, or too low.  Maybe you picked a timeframe that is unrealistic.  I would tell you that if you modify your goals just because the going gets tough, that is not a good thing, so don’t do that.  Modify them for logical reasons that will help you refine them to the point they will help push you to higher levels.

Until Then – Train Hard!

Mike S.

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