“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso
Learning to set goals is a life-skill that most young athletes experience. Thanks to focused coaches, ambitious parents, and competitive friends the language of goal-setting is usually very familiar to kids involved in sports.
However, deciding upon a goal is the EASY part, and unfortunately, it often ends there.
Even those athletes that write out a plan, fail to achieve their goals because they miss one crucial step — measurement of their progress.
Here are 2 aspects of measuring progress that is critical to the realization of a goal.
1) Pay Attention to Lead Indicators
Also known as lead measures, key indicators, and metrics, lead indicators are any kind of “drivers” for accomplishing a goal.
In other words, they are the micro-habits that take you down the road to success.
Without evaluating them, you have no idea what works and what doesn’t in reaching your target. It quickly turns into an exercise of wishful thinking rather than striving to accomplish something.
For example, suppose your athlete announces that he wants to earn a baseball scholarship.
The lead indicators to pay attention to for this goal might involve:
- Batting average per season
- Fielding percentage (errors)
- Slugging percentage
- On-base percentage
What gets measured, gets improved and so it is vital to evaluate RELEVANT activities.
What do you think would be appropriate lead indicators to keep an eye on when trying to lose 10 pounds?
They might include:
- Calories consumed
- Calories burned
- Adequate sleep
- Appropriate fluid intake
- Healthy fiber in your diet
In both examples, the lead indicators are measurable and relevant to accomplishing the desired goal.
2) Tweak To Improve Progress
Once you have determined what is working and what is not — by looking at your lead indicators — you can tweak your approach.
Often, minor adjustments or tweaks to the original plan are what leads to favorable outcomes.
What does that look like specifically?
In the baseball scholarship scenario that could be:
- Spending an extra 10 minutes a day on catching, if fielding percentages are down
- Adding extra time in the batting cage if your on-base percentage is low
- Getting a tutor if your GPA is marginal
For losing 10 pounds, you might have to tweak your:
- Late-night snacking, if you tend to overeat when you are tired
- Approach to snacking by cutting back on sugar-laden treats
- View of rest if you regularly skimp on sleep
Be creative as you help your athlete look at making small changes. Keep the steps small enough that it almost seems too easy. Make it a no-brainer to accomplish.
Summing It Up
Encourage your kids to set goals and then teach them the secret to achieving them.
Help them to determine the lead indicators for their specific ambition. And then choose effective tweaks to apply to their process.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier