The New Year has come and passed and we are now just over a month into a new and fresh year and the question beckons; what will you make of it? Though change can happen at anytime, a New Year is often a powerful catalyst into creating a change in our own lives. It is an opportunity to stare at a fresh new chapter and decide if we like where the story is going.
Here in the Mental Training Department at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy (GGGA) we work closely with our students to set goals that will allow the students to find success and work towards reaching their full potential. To get smarter with your goal setting we believe it is important to spend quality time in the beginning of each semester establishing “SMART” goals to aid in their learning process. A “SMART” goal consists of five key elements that relate to each letter in the word S-M-A-R-T as follows:
A good goal starts with a (S) specific focus. For instance, some golfers will say, “Well, I want to get better”, so I’ll ask, “Better at what exactly?” A goal that is unspecific is like a boat without navigation, you end up spending resources searching rather than accomplishing.
This is also why it is important to create a goal that is (M) measurable. A measurable goal is something that you can track and create a concrete record of your ability to work towards your goal. Just like the boat without navigation, what if you also didn’t count and weigh the fish you caught? How would you or others on the boat know how close you are to reaching your catch limit or weight limit? Our golfers at GGGA, sometimes become so immersed in the every day process that they lose track of how much better they have become.
It is a satisfying feeling to show a once 12-14 handicap that they are now a 4-5 handicap. Being able to measure progress towards your goal(s) is important so that you can also see the successes you will have along the way. Thus when making goals they must also be (A) attainable. Being attainable means that your goals will challenge you and expand your limits, but are still able to be accomplished.
Then again, is the goal you are setting one that you want to accomplish? Is it (R) realistic in that it makes sense to set this goal. An example might be a golfer who wants to score better on the golf course. So they set a goal to increase their distance and the accuracy. While long drives are fun to hit, will being 10 yards closer to the green necessarily help you to make more putts, or pitch it closer to your target?
Finally, goals need to have some element of (T) time, or timeliness, associated with them. Setting a realistic timetable helps focus our efforts and increase our motivation towards achieving our goals so that we can make productive progress. The reason we choose to spend dedicated time on goals with our students is the same reason why builders lay a foundation and construct a frame when building a house. Without either, there won’t be much support for all of the other important and exciting things to come. The New Year is here, what will you make of it? Be SMART!
Written by: Mental Coach Skylar Jewell