Training and diet are broader topics I have delved into during my time writing this blog, but recently I have begun to explore the world of psychology and its use in effective training. I have talked of addiction, self belief and self-affirmations and today I will add goal setting to the list. But first… what do goals actually do?
In short goals make life simple. They allow you to focus your energy on a single or small list of tasks to ensure maximal performance when completing those tasks. Among Psychologists this effect is called sustained intentional blindness and is explained by the famous gorilla test. Take a room full of people and ask them to watch a video. This video was of two teams, one white and one black, the white team had a ball which they passed amongst each other. The room full of people had a task- they had to count how many times the white team passed the ball. However, the correct completion of the task was irrelevant, because after the answers had been collected the psychologists asked the group whether any of them had seen a gorilla dancing across the set. They had not. So the clip was shown again and sure enough a gorilla was spotted dancing around the set. The reason for the selective blindness is due to human evolution. We selectively see things to 1. make life simpler and allow us to transcend day to day activities and 2. to be able to focus our efforts and achieve what we set out to do. With this in mind we can begin to use this unintentional blindness to aid us in achieving goals. With the science part over we can get onto the practical applications in the world of sporting achievement.
A goal is a written contract made and known by you only. It concerns only you and only you can benefit from its completion. However, you also do not lose anything from not completing it. Progress is when that goal is completed. Stagnation is when that goal is not completed. If you want to grow then you must complete the goal. The goal reminds you to grow- it inspires you, moves you, makes you leave the nihilistic state so many have fallen victim to. Every time I go to the gym, or play rugby, or go to school I read through my goals. It gives me direction, purpose and allows me to utilise the wisdom I have gathered. Set goals, write them down and remind yourself how to use your blindness to better yourself.