Softball "S.M.A.R.T." GoalsBy Dalton Ruer
In the classic romantic comedy Footloose, actor Kevin Bacon plays a highly charged teenager who’s family has just moved to a very conservative small town. The outlet for all that he is going through emotionally is rock music and dance. He has the audacity to think he can change the “world he’s living in” and derives a plan to fight the entire town in order to hold a high school dance.
If you are reading this article it’s likely that “dance” isn’t the way that you are trying to change the world. But if you’ve been following along with my articles then like his character you have identified your dream, know that you want to commit to achieving it, but may feel like you are facing the entire world.
Dramatic change doesn’t happen easily because it is often met with great resistance. Achieving great things has to start with a solid plan. In fact you might say that achieving great things must begin with S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific – They must be precise because that adds the element of accountability; we can’t negotiate based on our emotions after the fact because others know exactly what we meant.
Measurable - They have to include numbers that can be objectively measured. Unfortunately most people, especially female fast pitch softball players, have a tendency to want to beat themselves up and goals that are not “measurable” leave room for them to do just that.
Achievable by you – They have to be realistically achievable based on your abilities, talents and passion level and accounts for the fact that some things are beyond your control. This doesn’t mean that you set goals that are easy to reach; it simply means that based on your size, strength and speed your goals have to be something that you can achieve if you work hard.
Reach forward – They have to be something that will cause you to achieve something if you succeed in the goal. Many people derive goals that attempt to avoid negative situations, rather than striving to actually achieve something and even if they are successful they haven’t advanced their career.
Time based – They have to acknowledge that like all things time can be used to our advantage. Like a snow ball rolling down a large mountain each small improvement can build a tremendous amount of momentum over time. I like to see people think in terms of: Immediate action (what can be done right now to get the snow ball started), Short Term (what can be accomplished within 6 weeks towards the goal), Mid Term (what can be accomplished within 1 season) and Long Term (what can be accomplished within 1 year or more).
As I stated in my last article your goals are supposed be like the directions from a GPS that help you achieve your dream. By now you should know where you are starting from and where you want to go. As you get started writing your directions/goals …write them out one by one in a row.
Then make columns for the S.M.A.R.T. aspects of what a great goal should encompass and allow someone else to go through and place check marks in the columns that fit and x’s in the ones that don’t. Goal writing is a process, not a 5 minute off the cuff activity. Continue rewriting every goal until your trusted advisor(s) can honestly check off all 5 boxes.
As you can probably guess, as with all of the movies I bring up, there is a happy ending and our lead character achieves his goal and is able to hold his dance and the town lives happily ever after. I want the same to be said about you. I want you to develop S.M.A.R.T., GPS based goals that enable you to accomplish your dream and change “your world.” My next article will help you learn how to control the most important 6” in the game which is going to be vital if you want to accomplish your goals as you pursue your dream.