Setting Your Dreams and Goals like a Professional

Setting Your Dreams and Goals like a Professional 

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” — Dalai Lama

Someone once told me that writing down goals puts too much pressure on a person, and often left them depressed when they came up short. Well, I read a quote by Norman Vincent Peale about that, it said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” It is vital to have goals, and it's definitely part of your journey. You must write detailed, specific goals because, if you don’t, you will not be motivated to complete them.

When writing your goals, I want you to remember these five W’s:

Why do you want to reach the goal?
When will you work toward it?
Where will you train?
What drills and exercises will help you reach it?
Who are you going to have to hold you accountable?

If you have your goals written down now, and they are not specific, rewrite them right now. Remember, what you write must motivate you to push yourself every single day.     

As of now, your chances of going to the next level are already greatly increased, simply because you’re doing something about it. In case you do not know the statistics of athletes who play after high school, let me bring you up to speed according to recent NCAA research:

1 in 30 men will play in college
3.5 in 100 women will play in college
1 in 75 men will play at the professional level
1 in 100 women will play at the professional level

Based on those statistics alone, you may be having anxiety and your chest could be tight, and that is perfectly OK. But if you’re giving up that easily, then this expedition is not for you, because you resist change. However, risk-taking is essential to growth. So, if you are still reading, consider this:

How can you find the courage to take a risk and improve yourself in basketball and in life?

If you want to be the best, then worrying about whether or not you'll be as good as you wish is the surest way to failure. Your worries become reality. For example, if you are concerned about failing a test because you waited until the night before to study, chances are high that you will likely fail. You are telling yourself that waiting until the last minute to study equates to failing a test. You cannot listen to your negative voice and accept it -- you must talk back with confidence.

If becoming extraordinary is what you want, then you will need to start speaking to yourself positively.

You need to decide right now that you will not surround yourself with negative influences. If you follow positive footsteps, there's no reason for you not to become as great as you want to be, in a reasonable period. When the people around you respect your goals and want the best for you, being the best you can be is inevitable. There is a stark difference between somebody that pushes you to be better than somebody that tells you that you're not good enough.

More than 50% of our society does not set goals, simply wishing for things to happen; and 40% get a hint of procrastination and freeze. Being productive and achieving goals are the habits of the extraordinary. Scientists at Harvard say that your brain caters to the way you have been thinking for years. Meaning, if you were told throughout your adolescent life that you were too short to play basketball, your brain will make you believe that to be true for the rest of your life -- at least until you decide to change the way you think.

Let no one tell you that your goals are unattainable. Your only goal should be whether you’re willing to put in the work or not. And your approach to basketball will go even farther; as it should mirror how you approach life: with energy, a sense of urgency, purpose, efficiency, integrity, and a mind ready to grow.

I believe in you, even if you do not. I have faith in the you that you're trying to become.

Any successful, happy person you meet has dreamed up their life. It's never been a perfect route to get where they want to be, but they set goals, and once they reached those goals, they created a new dream. You must get a vision; you must see it, touch it, sip it, hear it, and even know the odor -- what you focus on the most becomes reality.

Beyond that, there are three types of goals you should be aware of as your start your journey. The first goal focuses solely on an outcome. An example of this goal is winning the championship or scoring thirty points. Outcome-related goals are not the most reliable because it puts a lot of pressure on you, causing you to be tense, forceful, and selfish.

The second type of goal is performance-focused. This goal is also based on an end result, but success is viewed according to the standards you have set for yourself, such as shooting at least 80% from the free throw line. Or, if you typically attempt ten three-pointers a game, a goal would be to attempt ten midrange jumpers to become more versatile.

Finally, process goals focus on your behavior, technique, and mechanics during the game. You are focusing on perfect form, boxing out before rebounding, moving on to the next play after mistakes, and any other goal where success is not so immediately black or white.

Outcome goals are not flexible or controllable, which is why, when setting goals, it is more beneficial to use a combination of performance and process goals. An example of this type goal may look like:

In order to shoot 80%, I will take three deep breathes before my free-throw routine to ensure perfect form and a smooth follow-through.

To be an offensive threat, I will peek at the rim every time I touch the ball, as this allows me to recognize when I am open.

I will limit my turnovers by faking a pass before I make one.

I will get ten rebounds by boxing out after each shot and hunting for the ball.

When setting these type of specific goals, it keeps you present in the moment, play-by-play, possession-by-possession. This gives you the ability to raise or lower your subjective standards in order to keep them both challenging and realistic. All in all, it'll promote consistency and positivity while also keeping you motivated, the best of both worlds.

It is also important to think of setting short-term and long-term goals. A combination of performance and process goals are imperative for setting your dream and creating your vision board.

Throughout my college career and even some games in high school, free throw shooting was a common measuring stick for the margin we would lose by. Coach would say, “If we just would have made our free-throws we would have won the game.” I am sure even you have heard this from your coaches at some point. I shot 76% from the free-throw line my junior year of college and as the leader of the team, that percentage was unacceptable.

I used performance and process goals to shoot at least 80% from the line every single day. I shot 100 free-throws a day to ensure this would happen. My senior season, I not only improved my free-throw percentage, but I led the conference with 90% from the line just by being more present in the moment and confident.

Positive affirmation is the first step to dream setting. When you think about your dream you are preparing for your future self and, in order to do that, it begins with shifting your thoughts. This starts every morning when you wake up, as often as you remember throughout the day, and before you fall asleep. Say to yourself: “I am confident in my ability. I am extraordinary.” Repeat it to yourself in sets of three all week long and discover the difference it makes in your game.

Create your very own vision board and leave it in a place where you will see it every day. You will need scissors, tape or glue, and access to a printer to print images from the internet. Your vision board should focus on your emotion, where you want to be, what you want to do, inspiration and motivation, career, personal growth, relationships, education, health, and anything else you might be striving for. There are no rules, so you cannot mess up; design it any way you would like and add elements that you would like to bring into your life. Understand that if you focus on material things, it means that you’ve yet to grasp the concept of dream setting.

What are you excelling at this week that you were not doing before?
What is your biggest long-term goal?
By next year, what will you accomplish?

Then, with some hard work, the rest will be history.

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