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Whether your goals are to be a better soccer player or just be fit, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will give you an edge by keeping you motivated and focused through your effort. S.M.A.R.T stands for the following:

S – Specific M – Measurable A – Attainable R – Realistic T – Tangible

1. Specify Your Goals

Your goals need to be specific to what you want. For example, being a better soccer player is too broad. You need to pick what being a better soccer player would mean to you. It could be getting more fit, trapping every ball under control, committing fewer mistakes during a game, or it could be all of these. Specificity relates to what you are going to do, why it is important to you and how you are going to do it. It is best to start with something that is personal and does not involve the team or others (winning a tournament would be more of a team goal).

2. Make Goals Measurable

If you can’t measure your goal, it is going to be impossible to manage it. It is beneficial to set measurable progress. If the goal is accomplished, there will be success. However, it is helpful to set and keep track of steps along the way to be able to see your progress. “I want to improve my personal best by the end of next month.”

If you measure your progress, it’s easier to stay on track; if not, you can take steps to correct and try to reach your target dates. There is nothing that will boost your confidence and morale than seeing your progress and feeling the change and accomplishments that you are attaining.

3. Set Goals that are Attainable

You will not be able to commit to goals you set which are too far out of your reach. Think small, attainable targets and you’ll be alright, because it’s the attaining of small goals that helps you aim higher. Creating reasonable and attainable goals for yourself will propel you to success and keep that motivation factor alive as well.

When you identify the goals that are most important to you, a goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it, and that it will require a real commitment from you. The feeling of success this brings helps you to remain motivated.

4. Be Realistic

Your goal needs to be realistic for you and for where you are at the moment. A goal of being a world champion without the training, competition and hard work will not be realistic. Realistic means “do-able.” It means you need to spell out the factors that are needed to achieve your goal – including your progress goals. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!

For example, you might set yourself the attainable goal of eating healthy every day. That is certainly attainable, but when it comes to the methods you plan to use to achieve this goal, you might start to become unrealistic. Be realistic and ask yourself what the chances are that you will stick to any drastic change in behavior. Do you have the time and resources to accomplish your goal?

While some goals may be possible with extreme dedication, you are the ultimate judge about whether your goals are realistic and sustainable.

5. Make Goals that are Tangible

No goal makes much sense unless you attach a timeframe to it. Set a timeframe for the goal: — next week, in three months, by the end of season, etc. Putting a point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a time, there is no commitment. Remember, time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Everyone can benefit from setting goals both on and off the field. Applying the S.M.A.R.T. technique of goal setting to any part of your personal life — such as school, sports, health or work — may help you to see slow but balanced benefits that may help raise your confidence which, in turn, make it easier for you to raise your own expectations even higher.

Goal-setting tips:

  • Write your goals down, put them where they are visible everyday.
  • Set short-, medium- and long-term goals
  • Set a combination of sport and health goals
  • Visualize yourself achieving your goals
  • Frequently review your goals
  • Always reward yourself when you achieve a goal.

Go ahead – set a S.M.A.R.T. goal right away and work toward it!