Goal Setting and Motivation

Many people will be running the London Marathon this weekend, and other events including quite a few across Scotland.  But how do we remain motivated and achieve the goals we set?

Top coaches know that being psychologically motivated is important in helping you be the best in sport.  Instead of leaving motivation to chance, sports psychologists use a range of techniques to help sports stars perform at their best.

Not everyone has the same kind of motivation and experts believes there are at least two main kinds.

Ego orientation: Doing an activity or playing sport because you want to be the winner

Task orientation: Playing sport because you enjoy being the best by improving your own personal best performances

You can have both kinds of motivation – but it’s best to be high in both ego and task orientation or low in ego and high in task orientation.  People with these types of motivation work hard and do not give up when things are not working out.

People who are high in ego orientation and low in task orientation do not always succeed and may give up when they are no longer winning.

Which type do you think you are – and what should you do about it?

“I can’t seem to motivate myself. I know I can improve my fitness and my ability in sport but I can’t seem to get there. What can I do?”

Does this sound like you?

If so, you need to try to get motivated and start using goal setting.

By setting goals you can:

  • Achieve more: be who you want to be.
  • Improve performance: do great things.
  • Improve the quality of your training.
  • Increase your motivation to achieve.
  • Increase your pride and satisfaction in your performance.


Goal setting is a hugely powerful technique that can bring you strong rewards and get your motivation levels up.

At its simplest level the process of setting goals and targets allows you to choose where you want to go in life.

By knowing what you want to achieve, you know what you need to concentrate on and improve and what’s a distraction.

When goal setting it is important to:

  • Pace Yourself
  • Reward Yourself
  • Keep a realistic goal
  • Keep notes of your goals
  • Don’t feel guilty of failure
  • Find someone to achieve your goals with!

By setting realistic, sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals.

You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind and increase your levels of motivation.


Here’s how you can set up and achieve your goals:

1. Choose your goal and be positive.
2. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
3. Decide how you will get the evidence and feedback for achieving your goal.
4. Research how to achieve your goal and get your resources together: Books, online resources, people, time, role models
5. Be proactive: take action on your journey.
6. Pay attention to the wider consequences of achieving your goal.
Be aware of how your actions impact you and others around you.
7. Make and Action Plan, be dedicated and disciplined, achieve your goals and realise your dreams.

When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done it.  And consider the progress you have made towards other goals too!

If the goal was a significant one, or one that you had worked towards for some time, take the opportunity to reward yourself appropriately, maybe buy that pair of trainers you’ve been saving up for!

Sometimes we succeed in achieving our goals, and sometimes we have to pull out and fail in achieving our goals.  We can learn a lot from both from the feedback we get from our experiences.


Where you have failed to reach a goal, ensure that you learn a lesson from it.

It could be that:

  • You didn’t try hard enough
  • Your technique was faulty and needs to be adjusted
  • The goal you set was unrealistic

Use this information to adjust the goal appropriately or set different goals to acquire new skills or build stamina.  Feeding back like this turns everything into a positive learning experience – even failing to meet a goal is a step forward towards perfect technique!

Remember that the fact of trying something, even if it doesn’t work, often opens doors that would otherwise have remained closed.

Where you’ve achieved a goal feed back to yourself and into your next goals:

  • If the goal was easily achieved, make your next goals harder
  • If the goal took too long to achieve, make the next goals a little easier
  • If you learned something that would lead you to change goals still outstanding, change them!
  • If while achieving the goal you noticed a deficit in your skills, set goals to fix this.

Remember too that goals change as you mature – adjust them regularly to reflect this growth in your personality.  If goals do not hold any attraction any longer, then let them go – goal setting is your servant, not your master.  It should bring you real pleasure, satisfaction and achievement.

So go on, set yourself a goal, and have the determination, discipline and put in the hard work to achieve it!  Believe in yourself.  You can do it!

For more articles on Motvation go here:  https://lornpearsontrains.wordpress.com/inspirations/motivation/

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3 Responses to Goal Setting and Motivation

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