More Than Just Win: How To Set Goals That Make You A Winner -- All
often do you evaluate your sport competition, speech, interview,
job evaluation, class tests and papers in win-loss terms? Either
you succeeded or you failed? Either you won or you lost? Isn't this
an unhappy, pressure-packed way to go through life? Is there a better
way? Top performers use internal goals, called process goals or
performance goals, in these specific ways.
Do More Than Just Win
How To Set Goals That Make You A Winner --
All The Time
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
How often do you evaluate your sport competition,
speech, interview, job evaluation, class tests and papers in win-loss
terms? Either you succeeded or you failed? Either you won or you
lost? Isn't this an unhappy, pressure-packed way to go through life?
Is there a better way? Here is what we usually hear from less-experienced
1. Will I win? Will my speech evaluations be high? Will the audience
like my speech?
2. Will our team win? Will we get to the round of play we desired?
3. Will I or our team achieve the year's ranking goal? Will others
approve of our performance?
As you can see, there are not too many types of outcome goals we
can set. This means our chances of being "successful" as defined
by these goals are quite limited. Either we win or lose. Either
our team wins or loses. Either we reach our ranking or we don't.
The audience evaluates us positively or they don't. This type of
either-or, black or white thinking can be quite pressure-inducing
and can easily lead to feelings of complete failure, disappointment
and depression if these specific, limited goals are not reached.
Perhaps most damaging, we put our happiness and satisfaction with
our performance into the hands of others. We ask them to evaluate
us, regardless of HOW we played. We put enough pressure on ourselves
without buying into societal pressure to evaluate ourselves positively
ONLY if we win, get that A+, get that raise or get that standing
ovation. These are outcome or product goals.
Experienced performers always set these outcome
goals to measure themselves in an external sense. Yet they know
that all pressure is self-induced, and they avoid having one single,
external difficult-to-reach goal as the ONLY goal. They also realize
that measuring themselves internally is vital to continued performance
improvement. They seek this feedback with a passion. Top performers
use these internal goals, called process goals or performance goals,
in these ways:
1. These goals act as a pressure buffer so when losing or performing
badly, a "WIN" can still take place by reaching some performance
2. Monitoring process goals as the performance proceeds maintains
focus on what makes the performance succeed. Top performers take
care of the little things and then the big things, like winning,
take care of themselves.
3. Setting performance goals gives a you a feeling of control. It
truly is impossible to will yourself to win, because the opponent
is doing the same, and it is impossible to make the audience love
you, or to make the professor give you an A+. You cannot control
the outcome, but you can control to a high degree YOU as you perform.
4. Monitoring and measuring process goals gives you and your coach
material to work with in designing and adjusting your performance
afterwards. This moves your awareness of your performance away from
the global "I did bad" or "I did good" to detailed, specific, changeable
aspects of your performance that you can control.
5. Even if you lose, you win. Losing the game does not mean you
wasted your time if you learned something, improved, gave a good
effort, or used performance goals to do better next time.
Here are some types of performance goals you can
1. Strive to always have a good time as you perform. If not, why
do you do it?
2. Learn at least one new thing about yourself via this performance.
3. Use the performance as an opportunity to learn how to handle
pressure better and to perform better when the stakes are high.
4. Improve your ability to control your breathing, especially during
5. Improve your ability to monitor your rituals and routines, and
to be able to enter the flow state as a result.
6. Reduce the number of mistakes you make. Move your performance
into a higher level.
Monitor these process goals during breaks in the performance and
at its conclusion. Have a coach or friend videotape you or use checklists
to measure the performance goals you set. With practice you can
observe these process goals as you actually perform. To start, though,
just sit down at the end of a performance and review your internal
goals as you reflect on your performance. This can be a chart, simple
notes or the start of a performance journal.
Winners set multiple goals, both internal and external, so they
can win the mental game as well as the external game. Be good to
yourself and set both types of goals. You will perform better, enjoy
yourself more and learn more about the fine art of performance,
about yourself and about others. Isn't that what it's all about?
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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