Better Goals = Better Ball Player.

On our first practice I had our players take home a sheet of paper with our Yearly Theme on it and a space to write down some goals for the season.

I knew that we’d be creating a 2nd draft of these goals.  But we wanted them to start with their simple top-of-mind desires.  Don’t complicate it at first.

During our second practice I went over the SMART goal framework.  I told them I’d provide a written recap of that info so they could use it to improve their initial goals.  So here’s the recap…

  1. Write your goals down. Research has repeatedly shown that the simple act of actually writing down your goals significantly improves your chances of meeting them.  Even if you never develop an action plan, it’s still better to actually write them down.  But we’re going to also plan some action.
  2. Make the “SMART.”  This acronym has a few variations, but I use Michael Hyatt’s.  Goals should meet these 5 criteria:
    • Specific: Your goals must define exactly what you want.  Be simple but direct.  Avoid being vague.  Here’s an example:
      Bad: Have a better attitude.

      Good: Display positive body language, especially after failure (striking out, issuing a walk, etc).
    • Measurable: If possible, try to quantify the result of your goal.  That way you’ll actually know if you hit it!  You can’t manage what you can’t measure!
      Bad: Be a better hitter
      Good: Hit .350+ for the season.
    • Actionable: Every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “hit,” “run,” “throw,” “eliminate,” “finish,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)
      Bad: Be a better pitcher
      Good: Throw a first pitch strike (per batter) 70%+ of the time.
    • Realistic: Great goals should stretch you.  Absolutely dream big.  It should be a challenge.  It should cause you to get uncomfortable.  BUT…it should also be attainable with hard work.
      Bad: Hit 20 bombs (in 30 games ?)
      Good: Hit my first over-the-fence home run (ever).
    • Time-bound: Goals need deadlines. A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.
      Bad: Throw 60 mph.
      Good: Throw 60 mph by June 15th, 2019.
  3. Keep goals few in number.  Focus.  Those with a long list of goals never succeed.  It’s far better to choose a few goals at a time.  Even one goal at a time allows you to have laser focus and gazelle intensity on just one thing.  This significantly increases your odds of succeeding.
  4. Review them frequently.  Actually ready your goals often.  Everyday helps but at least once per week.  Ask yourself what the next action step you could take to get closer.  Then go do it.  Rinse and repeat as often as you can.

So does all of this really work?

If you stick with it, yes.

And here’s the best part, it’s PROGRESS that’s the magic.  Research shows repeatedly that happiness doesn’t come from the destination, but the journey.  Making progress towards meaningful goals is what causes satisfaction and happiness.

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