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Goal Setting

Olympic Rings – Photo by Bryan Turner on Unsplash

It’s the end of the sprint canoe and kayak racing season in America. Our Nationals were at the beginning of the month, our Junior World and U23 athletes are competing now, and the Olympic Hopes Regatta will finish soon, too. For most paddlers, now is the time to set goals for the next season. This post will try to distill the lessons taught by our club founder, Bill Bragg.

Coach Bragg taught all club members how to properly set goals, both long and short term. Long term goals are something you want to achieve in your lifetime, or in the next 3 to 5 years. Short term goals may be in the next 6 months or racing season.

All goals should be:

  • Quantifiable, not qualifiable.
    If you can’t measure the goal, then it’s not a goal – it’s a desire.
  • Not tied to the performance of another individual or group. 
    Your goals have to be about you alone as you cannot control the level of success of others.
  • Obtainable.
    While it is good to stretch yourself, your goals, especially short term ones, need to be something you believe you can do. If you can’t even visualize it, you aren’t likely going to be able to do it either.
  • Written down and reviewed at regular intervals.
    Talking about your goals is not the same as writing your goals. A written record of the efforts to achieve your goals can be reviewed and analyzed. Reviews and adjustments are part of the path to getting where you want to go.

These four traits are what make goals real. Everyone in the club is encouraged to consider making the Olympic and World teams a long term goal. All of your goals do not have to be about paddling either. To achieve your paddling goals, you have to also have other parts of your life in order. Now is the time to write down one to three long term goals, and three to four short term goals that move you along the path to achieving the long term ones.

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