The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many aspects of our lives, especially in our regular workouts and training routines since the movement restrictions in March. While regulations might have relaxed over the past months, the motivation to train remained low as the next expected sporting event may only begin many months later.
At the moment, everyone’s focus is to maintain or strive for a better career especially when the pandemic puts workers at the brink of retrenchment. This puts us at the edge where we tend to neglect our health as we continue to age on a day to day basis.
Let us call this person Dave, a 29-year old banker by day and a runner by night. Dave took an interest in liking since his first attempt in a race four years ago. But the lack of training and an increased stress level due to the current pandemic, returning to the track for a 5km casual run became a struggle.
Dave shared his frustration with Adam, one his running buddies in a training session and told him about his worries. Adam immediately understood the situation and introduced him to something he has also been working on with his mental coach called “GOAL SETTING”.
What is goal setting? It is a planned course of action that helps an individual focus their attention on the things they want to accomplish, and act as a motivation to achieve the goal.
“There is a vast difference between wanting to achieve a specific goal and knowing how to do it. When you know exactly the course of action you have to undertake to achieve your goal, the likelihood of you achieving it greatly increases, because not only do you know what to do, you also know how to do it,” said Bryan Win, the co-founder of Mind Gap Sport Psych Services.
The first step is to identify OUTCOME GOALS. An outcome goal is the end goal you are working towards, or the “bigger picture”, such as winning a competition or improving your Personal Best. This goal can be set to either outperform your own result or aiming for a spot at the top thirty in your next race.
To achieve the outcome goal, the second step is to set the PERFORMANCE GOALS. It is defined as a personal goal and standard that an individual would like to achieve. It differs from outcome goals as performance goals is the breakdown and small goals required for you to achieve your outcome goals – for example, to run 10km within 35 minutes. This performance goal can always be revised once he has steadily achieved it.
The third and final step is to decide on the PROCESS GOALS, where it helps an individual to decide their performance goals by breaking it down to create a focal point. It is the small things that can be done within your own control, focusing on yourself and your own actions. Therefore, process goals are not affected by another individual’s actions or performance.
“You can see process goals as the short term goals. It is arguably more important to focus on process goals, because it gives the most control among the 3 goals. If you focus on and work on your process and performance goals, the outcome will take care of itself,” added Bryan.
“Start off by setting a goal for instance a 5km run on the track 3 times a week and eat only 2,000 calories a day. Slowly increase the frequency and distance moving forward.”
“Of course, it requires strict discipline to follow through the routine. But just like any challenges, the more you practice goal setting, the easier it will get. Start doing it now and you will perfect it in no time.”