The Goal

The Goal

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Goal Setting Part 2 - Just how awesome do you need to be?

There's a lot to be said for ignorance combined with a positive attitude. In particular, it make for great stories: the young maths student who unknowingly proved a previously undemonstrated statistical theorem, mistaking them for homework (as shown in the film "Good Will Hunting" but actually a true story); the plucky young English runner who entered the Ultra-Tour du Mont Blanc and accidentally won it the first time she competed.

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us who want to try break out of the ordinary and attempt something extraordinary we have to do this knowing the challenges we face and very conscious of our own limitations. It is with this in mind that we need to think about how we take the outcome goals that we have set ourselves and take the next step in turning it into something practical upon which we can take action.

In 2013, I set myself two key goals:
  1. Win the Welsh Commonwealth Games trials; and
  2. Come in the top 25 in all 3 Bisley Majors: Grand Agg, St. George's and HM Queen's Prize
To take this further, I needed to work out what level of performance I would have to achieve in order to reach the goals (and, further, how much training I would need to complete to do so.) In the case of both of these, it comes down to simple numbers: I needed to average over 49.5 at short range and 47.5 at long range.

Beyond mere scores, I'd been thinking about other ways to improve. I'd done a serious amount of work on my technique, but I hadn't really done anything physical to help my shooting so I decided to add some performance goals relating to my cardiovascular fitness and injury resistance. The first of these might make some sense to you; however the injury-resistance might be giving you some difficulty. A couple of factors influenced me here: firstly the number of shooters I know who have serious back problems from years of abuse; and secondly, the serious muscle cramping I get between my spine and my right shoulder blade after several days of shooting, which I was sure was having a negative effect.

I now had a couple of solid outcome goals and some performance goals. I will:
  1. Average 49.5 or better at short range
  2. Average 47.5 or better at long range
  3. Make sure my kit is in top condition
  4. Improve my cardiovascular fitness
  5. Improve my injury-resistance
Two of these goals are ludicrously specific, measurable, relevant and timely but may not be achievable and have large risk factors outside of my control. The other three are not terribly specific and therefore not meaningfully measureable, but are definitely relevant, achievable and within my control. None are tied to a specific timeframe yet.

We're getting somewhere, we're still a ways from having a set of goals we can use to generate a training plan but by  thinking about what we want to achieve in a broad sense, we're really just following good planning discipline: working out where we want to go and how to get there. Any good project manager will tell you that we also need to have answers to other questions: do we have enough time, money and other resources to get there? What's going to get in our way? And, how do we know we're making progress? More on these next time...

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