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Goal Setting and the Psychology of Performance

If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are going - Chinese Proverb

Without goals – without something to aim for – who are we?

When you set a goal consciously, you get to direct the flow of your energy and efforts, and participate in how your life unfolds. Setting goals raises your motivation, increases your ability to use all your talents and skills, and results in greater success.

Success in any sport is the mixture of many factors coming together but excellence is not on its own sufficient for success. It’s also necessary to turn one’s ability into peak performance in the arena of competition. This often is the key challenge that sportsmen/women face and is difficult to master and one element which differentiates the best from the rest. We have often heard the expression ‘mind over matter’ and it is so apt in the world of elite and professional competition.

We have often watched in amazement when the extraordinary abilities of these sports men and women rise to the top and conquer their fears and anguish including the doubts and tension that resonate through their whole being. How do they do it where does this mental toughness come from and can it be learned?

One of the underlying principles is that goal setting gives significance and direction as well as fuel and energy to achieve objectives and approach new challenges. This is especially important for developing the commitment component of mental toughness. Setting SMART goals is one method, as is setting milestones which help guide us to realize our goals.

If you know what your needs are and you know what to do to achieve them. In essence, all great adventures start with a goal, followed by clear and well planned route map outlining every key step and turn, which eventually culminates with the successful achievement of the elected goals.

Setting clear goal will allow you to highlight areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. Having a clear framework assist the development of peak performance through better and more effective training which is then applied during the actual game

Setting clear goals also examines your motives; it helps develop your intentions and desires. Motivation and desire then nurtures habits which in turn drives you forward in pursuit of peak performance. The people you share your goals with will also play a major part in whether or not you reach your goal. In order to develop a successful approach surrounds yourself with positive and like-minded people who support your vision and enable you to move forward one step at a time.

Can we develop Mental Toughness?

Yes we can. We can either help someone to change their mental toughness or we can show someone how to adopt the behaviours that a mentally tough individual would adopt. Either way many of the benefits of developing mental toughness can be achieved. We have a range of programme and interventions which will help schools and organisations access the tools and support they need to ensure they develop well-rounded pupils ready to go on to an apprenticeship, university or the world of work.

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