Goal SettingAs years of experience continue to amass I’ve noticed that if I deter focus from the goals I have set for myself and my teams I start to feel as if I’m off course. Everyone, at some point of another, starts to go about their days in a monotonous routine. It’s like every day is exactly like the previous. Remember the movie “Groundhog Day”?

By the time I turned 8, my swimming coach started to teach me about how to set goals, and although more than three decades have past, what I learned during childhood continues to apply.

Goals are the things that keep us moving forward. They help us aspire to something grander; something that makes us feel fulfilled. Goal setting is a great step to shoot for, but how do we go about setting those goals?


During this time of the year many people start to think about what they want to achieve in 2014, myself included. Without a clear path, many of those goals will end up as wishes, washed away by the unexpected day-to-day events that always come up. It’s just human nature.

The one undeniable aspect of goal setting, regardless of your goal’s level of difficulty, is that you must get yourself to write them down on a piece of paper; make them more tangible.

Once you’ve written them down, it’s time to give yourself the absolute best chance at achieving them. To access that possibility you must follow these 5 steps:

1. Be Specific

There’s no basis to a goal such as “I want to look thinner” or “I will change careers this year”. You must be very specific about what you want to obtain. Michael Phelps is famous for writing down the times he wanted to swim in his races, down to a 1-hundred of a second. Talking about being specific!

I take a similar approach. I concentrate on what I’m not doing today that requires effort and dedication to get me past procrastination. Anything that’s creating a wall between myself and my goals I tackle head on.

In addition, I convince myself of the importance of achieving the goals I’ve written down. I tell myself affirmations to motivated me to get started and keep going. The rewards at the end of the season will be worth it. I Get deep into the details. No broad statements here; they leave too many doors opened for distractions.

2. Set measurable goals

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that if you start on a path to achieve a goal, and there are no ways you can measure your progress, there is a very high chance you will quit. You see, without the reinforcement measurable goals bring, there’s no point to just continue to travel without a horizon.

As an athlete, I always set a number of short-term goals throughout the swimming season. These goals, once put together, give me a reference point as the season moves toward the big event that usually takes place at the end of the season. Every time I race, I compare what I swam with my goal to see if I’m on track. By doing this I can make the adjustments in training so I can improve, giving myself a better chance next time I compete.

Make a habit to jot down the challenges you face as you progress toward your goals, so next time you face a challenge you draw upon the lessons learned so you can move pass it quickly.

3. Make your goals attainable

Once you have pinpointed what you want to achieve, it’s time to search for ways to make those goals a reality. Setting attainable goals is a critical factor for success. If you set goals that are too difficult to reach, what’s most likely to happen is that your level of commitment will be extinguished.

Imagine you want to buy a new car. Saying to yourself you’ll get that done in six months will likely yield disappointment when the six months elapse. In turn, if you plan to save $300 per month for a period of 24 months, the amount you save by the end of that period will yield the down payment to a sparkling new ride. That is truly an achievable goal, and by reaching it you’ll keep yourself motivated.

4. Be Realistic

Here’s where a lot of colleagues and fellow athletes get confused. In goal setting, a key attribute to consider is that you may already have the skills needed to reach the goal. This gives you the upper hand on the planning stage, and a head start on the competition.

The easiest way to make your goals realistic is to make them incremental. Setting up a plan to lose 25 Lbs in one year may be unrealistic if you like to binge on football Sunday. But, if you set a goal to lose 2 Lbs every month by controlling what you eat every weekday, it is likely you’ll lose the excess weight in 12 months.

5. Set a timeframe for the goal

By giving your goals a finite timeframe, you will subconsciously put a slight pressure on yourself to get done what is needed. If you leave this open, your level of commitment will diminish. How many times have you said to yourself “I’m going to start working out next month”? Say instead, I’m working out today. By putting on your tennis shoes to go for a walk or jog, you would have taken massive action toward an end result.


We all need to have improvements to shoot for. Human beings are made to always be striving for something better. Today’s society looks up to high achievers because of some of the unbelievable things they attain. What the majority of people don’t understand is that with hard work and impeccable planning, they can also become one of those high achievers.

Follow the five laws to set yourself a course toward high achievement. These principles will institute a methodology within yourself that, with practice, will give you a level of expertise others will find impressive. Once you have a proven method, there’s not much you set your sight to that you cannot attain.

3 thoughts on “THE 5 LAWS OF GOAL SETTING

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