Goal Setting

ball in net

Goal Setting - How An Athlete Achieved His Goals At The Commonwealth Games by Bernie Wiemers

Last night [24 March 2006], Australia held its breath as John Steffensen lined up for the 400 metre final at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Before the race, I was captivated as I watched a feature story about John and his preparation for this race.

During this story John had proclaimed that he would not only run
under the 45-second mark, but he would also win the final. Becoming the first Australian sprinter to win this even since Darren Clark won at Auckland in 1990.

John then stepped the viewer through his strategy as we watched
one of his earlier heats. He explained what he would be thinking
and what he would be doing during the final.

This story proved to be sensational journalism, but it also got me thinking about this brilliant Australian and how he prepared for this event.

So, let's take this great athlete, take his preparation and break it down into clearly defined steps that we could use to achieve our own goals.

1. He set a clear goal

John set a very clear goal. He did not say, "Well, I'll do my best" or "I might win this race". Instead he said that he would win this race and his time would be under 45 seconds.

He had a very specific goal in mind and he clearly visualized the outcome he would achieve.

This allowed him to not only prepare his body, but also his mind
for the challenge ahead.

2. He trained with the best

The next thing John Steffensen did was to seek out the best
possible trainers and athletes he could find and train with them.

He realised very early on that he would need to train with the best. John got his opportunity after the Athens Olympics when he teamed up with the American Coach, John Smith.

John Smith is a former 400m world class athlete, but he is also a formidable coach and has trained Olympic 400m champions Marie-Jose Perec and Steve Lewis.

This training allowed him to improve his personal best time by 0.9 of a second, which gave him the confidence that he could achieve his goal.

3. They focussed on a game plan

John Steffensen and John Smith developed a very clear game plan.
Their plan was that he would go out strong, stay relaxed and keep his stride. When he hit the 150-metre mark he would put on a burst of speed through the final corner and this extra speed would carry him to victory. They also knew that the key to his victory would be his ability to keep his stride and stay relaxed.

4. He would not be denied

John didn't want this victory, he needed this victory and every
atom of his being craved it.

He knew he could win and he dismissed any criticism. He made
sure that there was no turning back, and leading up to the Commonwealth games he went public and proclaimed he would not
only win the event, but he would run under 45 seconds.

Most people looked on this as a very cocky young man full of hot
air, but he knew he was going to win and he would not be denied.

Leading up to the finals, John Steffensen avoided the press, which allowed him to focus clearly on his goal without the distraction of being in the limelight. This action also ensured that nobody had an opportunity to plant any seeds of doubt in his mind.

5. He took massive action

John knew that he had to take massive action and just before the
event he told a reporter that he had talked a lot about this
moment and it was now up to him to take action and achieve his

The stadium was buzzing with excitement as the athletes lined up
and then the stadium went very quiet as the audience waited in

The gun sounded and John shot out of the blocks. He got a great
start and led the field through the first corner.

However, the rest of the field closely followed him. But, John looked in control and relaxed.

When he got to the 150 metre mark, John put on a sudden burst of
speed through the final corner which carried him down the straight to an impressive win and a lap time of 44.73 second. Making him only the sixth Australian to run under 45 seconds.

6. He celebrated his achievement

Straight after the race John celebrated his achievements in true
"Jerry Maguire" style. He did not hold back any emotion; he
screamed, he prayed to god, dodged journalists, jumped on fences
and had a lot of fun.

After a Journalist finally caught up with him, John said that he worked hard for his goal, he had visualised this victory and he wanted to enjoy every moment of it.

He also added that this was a team effort, and that this would not have been possible without the help of his coach, John Smith.

He then mentioned that most people thought he was over-confident, but his self-confidence was only a reflection of his faith in his preparation.

The Journalist then asked if he could beat the Americans at next
year's world championships in Osaka. Steffensen replied "Me and
my coach will go back to the drawing board and set our goals for
next year. But when I know I'll definitely tell you about it."

So What Did I learn?

This event gave me a glimpse of how extraordinary people succeed
in life. I'm going to take the steps outlined in this article and apply them to my goal setting. I hope you will do the same.

Copyright 2006, Bernie Wiemers. Read other great goal setting articles at http://www.articlerich.com.

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