Everyone's experiences of 2020 were different, but the thing everyone had in common was that it was impossible to make plans and expect things to stay on track! Now, coming into a new year, it's time when we're thinking about goal-setting for 2021, but how can you set goals and stick with them when life throws you off?
If there's anyone that knows how to smash a goal, it's Sammy Rodgers. As well as being at the top of her Touch game as an Australian Women's Open player, she's also a Personal Trainer, school teacher who helps high schoolers achieve goals, and co-creator of The Final Touch online training program. Whether you have goals around fitness, health, Touch Football, work or life, Sammy shares her tips making them happen.
TIP 1: Remember you won't always be motivated
Setting goals is the easy part. Staying on track is the harder part, especially because your motivation levels can ebb and flow from one day to the next. "The biggest thing for me to remember when I’m trying to achieve a goal is that you’re not always going to be motivated – but you can always be disciplined," says Sammy. "You’re not going to be motivated every single day to get up to, say, train, but if you can be disciplined and just do what you've committed to, you’re going to get there."
Discipline is all well and good for an elite athlete like Sammy, but what if you're not a hugely disciplined person? Be prepared to modify, she says. "Say your goal is fitness related – if you’re not feeling up to the fitness session you’re meant to do, at least go and do something else active. If you’re not up to running a Bronco, maybe go for walk with a friend instead, so at least you’re doing something, you’re still moving forwards towards your goal. Being able to modify is really important for long-term success, especially after the year we've just had."
TIP 2: Be willing to reset
Speaking of modifying, that brings us to Sammy's second tip, around being flexible enough to revisit and reset your goals if needed. "Maybe someone’s goal in 2020 was to run a half-marathon, but they couldn’t do that because they’ve been in lockdown. Rather than dumping the goal altogether and not achieving anything, go back and reset your goals. You need to be adaptable – willing to change rather than completely give up."
Sammy uses the S.M.A.R.T. criteria for setting – as well as resetting – goals. Use the method to check back in with the goals you set earlier in the year and edit them.
S stands for Specific - be specific rather than vague about what it is you want to achieve.
M is for Measurable – make sure you include a measure, or will be able to measure/judge whether or not you're achieving the goal.
A is for Achievable – this one's particularly relevant considering the year we've just had; check in periodically on whether your goal is still achievable based on things that have changed since you set the goal. If not, adapt.
R is for Realistic – did you just start playing social Touch Football last month and you want to make an Australian team within the next three months? You may be setting yourself up for failure.
T is for Time-Bound – put a timeframe with the goal, a time by which you plan to achieve the goal. This aspect of your goal may need to change if something like COVID-19 restrictions, for example, get in the way.
Sammy says to set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T. method, then reset your goals if needed using the same criteria.
TIP 3: Don't beat yourself up
Sometimes in 2020 it was COVID-19 that threw us off track from achieving goals – sometimes we just veered ourselves off track! "Veering off track is just a part of life," says Sammy. "Even the world's top athletes go off track with their goals sometimes, it's just a normal part of working towards a goal.
"A lot of people have healthy eating goals at the beginning of the year. They’ll then eat some junk food and then they spiral out of control. But you have to realise this is OK. You can have some junk food, it’s all part of living, you don’t then need to spiral off track completely and give up on your goal. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Move on. Tomorrow is a new day. Start fresh. It all comes down to a positive mindset."
Other things to remember...
- Set a few rather than lots of goals at once. "Try not to have more than three to five short-term goals. You don’t want to be trying to achieve 10 to 15 things at once, that’s not realistic. If you pick three, you’re more likely to stick with them."
- Work back from your long-term goals first. "I look at what I want to achieve five to 10 years down the track, then I work backwards from there. What do I need to be able to do to be able to achieve that long-term goal? That gives me some smaller medium-term goals.
- Write goals down. "It’s really important to have your goals visible, so that every day you’re looking at them, reminding you to stay on track. So wherever is going to be visible for you, if it’s on the fridge, at your desk. I put mine in my notes on my phone. Some people at work have their goals as their computer desktop image, like their screensaver."
- Track yourself. "Particularly for health and fitness goals, logging what you've done (through an app or diary) means you can stay accountable and see what you're achieving."
Do you have a goal to become a better Touch Footballer?
"If you’re trying to achieve something in Touch Football, set yourself two different goals... One would be a skill-specific goal, so a specific Touch Football skill like being able to dump the ball with both hands or developing a longer pass. And the other would be a physical or fitness-type goal – whether that's improving your strength, power, speed or agility," says Sammy. "If you work on a skill and a fitness area, you'll improve in both aspects of the game."
If you're looking for a way to work on your fitness to improve your Touch Football, check out Sammy Rodger's and teammate Ash Kearney's The Final Touch online training program, in partnership with Touch Football Australia.