Goal Setting 2 – What type of goal do you set?

There are basically four types of Goals:
• Dream Goals
• Milestone Goals
• Stepping Stone Goals
• Process Goals

This article is Part 2 of a 5 part series on goal setting written by former Australian Head Coach Leigh Nugent.   Part 1 can be read at What is a Goal?

Dream Goals

Dream goals are our absolute or ultimate achievement. For example winning an Olympic gold medal in world record time. Goals such as this are achieved by few but are dreamt of by many. They are dreams that fuel the involvement and provide the initial motivation for young children participating in a sport.

The dream goal is not easily forgotten and for this reason it is not necessary to write it down and stick it on the bedroom wall as a daily reminder. For some, our dream goal becomes a reality, however for most it remains a dream, but it is a vital and an important dream as it is the end point from which we work backward in planning the rest of our goals.

Milestone Goals

Milestone goals are the goals marking the achievements which we would like to make at various significant points in our career. They form the dots on the map of our career macro-plan.
For example:
– Make the 12/u District Team
– Make a State Championship final
– Make my first national qualifying time
– Compete at my first Australian Age Championships
– Make my first National Age final
– Win my first National Age medal
– Gain selection to the Australian Age Flippers Squad
– Make my first Australian Open Qualifying time
– Make my first Australian Open final
– Gain selection to the Telstra Dolphins Squad
– Win a National Open medal
– Gain selection to my first Australian Open Team
– Make an international open final
– Win an international medal
– Gain selection in the Australian Olympic Team
These goals create a staged progression through our career by providing a longer term focus to the strategic points in our development. A number of these goals may be targeted within a year and others will be challenged over a number of years.

Stepping Stone Goals

Stepping stone goals can crossover with milestone goals but are generally seen as goals which have much smaller jumps from one to the other when compared to milestone goals. Because of this the time period for achieving stepping stone goals is generally confined to the time frames of a seasonal preparation or a 12, month span.
Stepping stone goals involve a series of marginal improvements, which provide a challenging yet achievable progression from one goal to the next, along the stages of the pathway that leads to the next milestone.
For example:
– 1st club meet swim 1.16.00 for 100brst
– 2nd club meet (2 weeks later) swim 1.14.50
– 1st state qualifying meet (4 weeks later in hard work) swim 1.15.00. Split more even than 2nd club meet. No more than 1.5 sec drop off.
– 2nd state qualifying meet (3 weeks later workout intensity reduced, more speed training) swim 1.13.50 Go out faster than previous meet and hold 2nd 50 at the same time.
– Taper phase Target broken 100s 1st 50 – 35.00 2nd 50 37.20
– State Championships (mile stone goal to win gold medal in 100 breaststroke).  Final stepping stone goal to swim 1.12.00 – 1.12.50 for 100 breaststroke

Process goals

Process goals are essential components of the process plan. The “process” is all important as described above as it is about what we do in our attempt to achieve our various goals. Process can be applied to many areas but for the purpose of this discussion let’s look at the process of preparation.

The process of preparation is the performance of the detail of the preparation plan and as such process goals need to be established to build in implementation, challenges, accountability and progress of the process on a day-to-day basis. Process goals help keep us on track, provide progressive satisfaction through achievement and are the essential micro-dots that go together to constitute the bigger picture.
For example:
– Milestone goal – is to win the Australian Age Championship for the 200fs
– Stepping stone goal – is to swim 2.00.00 at the Australian Age Championship.
– Overview of the process plan is – to establish in the swimmer an aerobic and an anaerobic capacity to train at speeds that will produce a likelihood of swimming 2.00.00 at the Australian Age Championships 16 weeks from now.
– Part of the process is – to achieve certain volumes during the first 6 weeks. The process goals for volume may be:
–  week 1- 35km,
–  week 2- 40km,
–  week 3- 45km,
–  week 4- 50km,
–  week 5- 60km
–  week 6- 65.km.

In line with these process, goals on volume may be process, goals in regard to being able to manage progressively more difficult training cycles:
– Week 1 may be based on 1.30 cycle/100,
–  week 3 on 1.20 cycle,
–  working down to 1.10 cycle by week 6.

Process goals can be applied to any part of the process as desired.