Goals, an Obvious and Intelligent Edge for All – Motivation By Mark Schwab

Goal setting will be as much a part of your success as anything else. In fact, Written goals will affect your results drastically.

Effective goal setting is NOT writing down you want to be a state or national champion at the beginning of the season, handing it to coach, and this is the extent. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many who use this thoughtless system.

Effective goal setting is a tool for TAKING ACTION. All growth, development, and success is about taking action, the right action. Goals are talked about but often not carried out effectively. ALL coaches should know how to effectively set goals with their program. All athletes should know how to set fruitful goals. Goals are not just some motivational idea. Goals are a blueprint for your plans, hopes, dreams, and a potent tool for confidence, attitude, and achievement. Everyone talks about “getting an edge.” Writing goals properly is an edge. When it comes down to it, inches and ounces make the difference. Writing goals give you an advantage, direction, feedback, and support.

Effective goal setting must become a DAILY habit for maximum effect. You have to cultivate awareness & pay attention to the daily behaviors, attitudes, and changes that will lead to your ultimate outcome. Your goals will not be conquered by one astronomical leap. Goals are accomplished a little at a time. If your goal is to be a state/national champion, the tournament might be wrestled for a couple of days in February or March, but it’s actually being accomplished daily. Everything counts! Inches and ounces make a difference, and I’d say WRITING and setting goals properly are worth a foot.

It is not enough to say, “I want to be a champion,” everybody does. You have to be INTENTIONAL. Writing and repetition weigh VERY HEAVY with your mind, and this is the mind you have to convince. Wanting to be a champion is nothing new or unique. What’s unique, is the person who’s willing to do what is necessary to give them the best opportunity to succeed. It seems so obvious but is often neglected.

Your goal is clearly written on the top of your paper – State/National Champion
The steps/behaviors to reach your goal is what’s most important. The most IMPORTANT part of goals is the actions/behaviors you’ll take to reach your destination. The action-steps tell you how and where to spend your time and energy. When you identify specific behaviors that must be employed and begin to act on them. You’re in a very small percentile and well on your way to crossing the bridge from talk to giving yourself real effectiveness.

  • Keep steps/behaviors specific, simple and clear.
  • Write EVERY step/behavior – detail is key.
  • Every step/behavior is written as actions/behaviors you’re going to take. Never use language such as – Don’t do this or Don’t do that. Positive, action-oriented words
  • Goals are nurtured daily. WRITE your GOAL DOWN OVER AND OVER. Be INTENTIONAL and employ repetition. Rehearse it in your mind. Live it and re-live it daily. In order to never lose sight, Goals must be constantly reviewed and checked for progress. What are the behaviors you must employ to increase your odds of achieving your outcome? You will conquer some of your steps/behaviors as you move forward, others will come up or need adjusting. You should go through several goal sheets a season. The goal never changes but actions/behaviors will.
  • Schedule and plan your goal as if you’re going to succeed. Reserve the dates and sign your name to your commitment.

Remember, the best plan in the world means nothing if not followed with action. Goals are a tool for taking action! Action does what words can’t – create results. There is a huge gap between daydreaming and movement, intelligent execution. Wise labor will cause a significant shift in the direction of your life. The choice is yours, but if you choose to pay no attention to writing goals, you’re missing out on a valuable instrument that renders immediate results.


Mark Schwab was recently an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Previously he spent nine years as assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, helping the program to seven top-three team finishes at the NCAA Championships and two NCAA team titles. As a wrestler, Schwab was an All-American for the University of Northern Iowa during the late 1980s. Schwab earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990 from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2003. Schwab returned to the University of Minnesota to get a second emphasis in sports psychology on his existing master’s and completed that in 2010. Email Mark at mark@opportunitiestosucceed.com.

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