Make a rough draft, not a resolution!

Happy New Year!

All over the blogosphere people are posting about their goals for the upcoming year.  Yet, we all know that New Year’s resolutions have a notoriously high failure rate.  Why is this?  The New Year is an artificial deadline for setting goals so and perhaps choose goals that have not been thoughtfully examined.  To slow down the goal setting process and give yourself the time to examine your goals, I suggest a rough draft instead of the traditional resolution.

Why do I have a rough draft of my goals?

Why?  Why not just make ’em and stick to ’em?  I believe that a major mistake in goal setting is to pick goals you think that you should have instead of knowing what goals you actually have.  You cannot just pick your goals out of a hat and expect them to stick.  Otherwise, everyone would be eating healthier and training consistently.  I think of goals setting as a process of excavation-discovering what it is that I really want.  I like having a stage of low commitment where I can give the goals a test run, see if they are really true goals or just things I think I should do.  During this stage I gather information and dabble in making progress.  At the end of the dabbling I am either aware that the goal is not actually important to me and I abandon it OR I am completely convinced that the goal is within my reach and nothing will stop me from obtaining it.

I realize my approach may seem strange.  All I can say is for any goal that I actually achieved, this is the process I’ve used.  Goal setting is a skill that takes practice and these are the conclusions I’ve come to as I’ve practiced and observed my own goal setting.

These are the goals I had in 2010:

  • To lose 20 pounds and become an athlete again.         Mission accomplished!
  • To be able to pull the full length of the field.                  Mission accomplished!
  • To try out for and make the new Philly women’s team.        Mission accomplished!
  • To be able to evaluate my own throwing decisions.         …um, still working on that.

After tryouts, my goal was to maintain my tryout level of intensity and focus at every practice.  I believe I nailed this goal with the exception of one abysmal practice late in the season.  Overall I am very happy with my goals an accomplishments in 2010.  It was a great year!

My goals for 2011:

  • To increase the hang time of my pulls enough for the defense to get set before the first throw.
  • To be able to evaluate my own throwing decisions.
  • To increase my vertical jump (currently 21.5 inches)
  • To regularly practice reading and defending hucks.

Like I’ve said, this is a rough draft of my goals.  Goals are best if they are measurable.   Some of my goals are not.

Increasing my vertical

I do not know how much of an increase in vertical is reasonable so it’s hard to pick a number for a goal.  I have always had a nice vertical.  Last season I did not work on it at all and it was better than it was while I was in grad school and actually trying to maximize it.  Does this mean I’m already near my maximal potential?  Or does it mean that my vertical will be absurd if I give it some attention?  And furthermore, I’m a 5’3” handler.  Seriously, why am I working on my vertical?   Additionally, I am terrible at reading the disc.   If I’m committed to my vertical, I must also be committed to learning how to use it.

Decision making

Evaluating my decisions is not a measurable goal.   How do I know when or if I’ve succeeded?  It would be more appropriate to have a process goal that will lead to the desired outcome.   I am still trying to figure out what the process should be.  Do I need to watch more footage to gain a better understanding of the game?  Do I need to utilize visualization more often to practice my decisions?   Perhaps both.  I’m still working on a plan of action that I can believe in.

How has goals setting worked (or not worked) for you?

What is your rough draft of goals for this season?

Related posts:  A trial run for permanent change

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