Have clear, tangible goals to guide you! An expert offers tips on how to go about setting goals that are most appropriate for you.

It’s natural to feel lazy at times, procrastinate or simply lack the motivation to work out, or practice sometimes. But if this happens too often, then you need to confront your pattern of avoidance. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reach your fullest potential.

Moving forward calls for a period of reflection upon what is stalling your progress. Perhaps it is simply the absence of goals? At times, what appears to be a lack of focus or discipline simply reflects the lack of a plan, with tangible milestones.

Divya’s guidelines

#1 Own your goals: Create goals that are congruent with who you are and what you want to achieve. A goal is never going to work if it’s coming from your coach, trainer or parent. This will just perpetuate the cycle of avoidance and guilt.

#2 Focus on process, not outcome: Winning or losing is not always in our control, much as we may wish it was. What is in our control is the hours we dedicate to the sport, how hard we train, and the techniques we set about to master.

Goals then should not be about rankings or win percentages, but rather about the efforts we put in and the skill we’re able to demonstrate on court.

#3 Be specific: Goals shouldn’t be looked at as the destination; used effectively, they’re the sign posts that lead us there. Words such as “good”, “better”, “improve” aren’t enough when it comes to setting goals. Instead, make them objective, measurable and time-bound. Set specific goals that give not just inspiration, but a sense of direction as well.

#4 Challenge yourself, but be realistic: “Aim for the stars, and you’ll at least reach the moon” is perhaps the best-known adage when it comes to goal setting.

Such a belief, however, can end up becoming a double-edged sword, resulting in a perennial sense of failure and self-doubt. A better, more scientific approach is to set a goal that is challenging, yet achievable if we put ourselves to it. At the end of the day, we all need our share of wins.