Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Mission Statement Helps You Focus on Your Goals

Paige Dunn

Have you ever asked yourself why you do your sport in the first place? What brought you to the sport? How did you get started? Is it an important part of your life? Do you do it for yourself? Others? For enjoyment, for fitness, for peace of mind? Why do you get out there and do it?
The key to success in any area of our lives is directly related to our emotional connection to that area. If you don't have a clear understanding of why you train and compete in your sport, then it'll be easier to get off track, lose motivation and perhaps even lose the enjoyment that drew you to the sport in the first place.

Maybe you naturally gravitated to your sport because you had positive experience from a previous time in your life. Maybe you missed having sports as a part of your life. Or maybe you were just looking for a new challenge.

Whatever the reasons, try to become consciously aware of those reasons and make them work for you. Having a clear understanding of your connection to the sport will ultimately help bring you success.

Success in sport is a direct result of dedication and hard work combined with many other things. However, there will be times when you don't have time, don't want to work out or you may completely lose motivation. These are the times when we need a tool to help us persevere and stay dedicated. When it gets tough to keep going, we need that magic tool to help us. That "tool" is a mission statement.

Almost every company or organization has a mission statement -- a philosophy that drives what they do -- but do you have a personal mission statement? Writing a personal mission statement will help you discover the reasons why you're involved in your sport and can help you through those challenging days when you lose sight of why you're doing it in the first place.

Simply put, the mission statement will be your personal philosophy with regard to sport. What's your mission this year? Why do you do what you do? Your mission statement might not have anything to do with the sport itself and everything to do with adding challenge and adventure to your life.

Getting Started

Start by brainstorming a list of words that come to mind with regard to your sport, as well your passion and interest for it. Then you can create a phrase or even a paragraph that defines your mission statement. Some people take it one step further and create an acronym based on the words or short phrases they've come up with.

Live with what you've come up with for a few days and then revisit it to see if it fits. Once you feel good about it, write it down and put it where you'll see it frequently. In the front of your training journal? On your calendar? On your desk? Somewhere in your office? Whatever works for you, just make sure you'll see it!

And when you have one of those days when you don't want to get out of bed to exercise or you're stressed about a specific workout, read your mission statement and remind yourself why it's important to you.

If the reasons don't resonate with you anymore, then it's time to make a change -- either to your mission statement or your lifestyle. Maybe you aren't connected to the sport anymore and need a break, or perhaps a new challenge within the sport. Be your own coach and check in with yourself throughout the season.

If you commit to creating a mission statement and staying true to it, it can serve as an effective tool. Ideally, create your mission statement before setting your sport goals. Once you have a clear understanding why you're making this sport a part of your life, you can set goals that are in line with your thinking.
Paige Dunn is a sport psychology consultant and a competitive Ironman-distance triathlete. Paige counsels and educates athletes on the mental component of athletic experience through her private practice, Xcel Sports. In her practice, she teaches various sport psychology techniques to enhance performance: goal setting, motivation, confidence, relaxation, imagery, focus and concentration, and more. Paige has a great deal of success motivating athletes to perform at their best. She enjoys lecturing and is currently writing her first book.

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