As some of you may know, I used to coach our community summer swim team for 13 seasons. Each season, I worked with 150-180 swimmers ages 4-18. I loved coaching this team, and it was a privilege to serve as the head coach for so many years.
One thing I especially enjoyed about coaching the Steeple Station Stingrays (try saying that 10x fast) was working with our teenage swimmers. It wasn’t just about stroke technique with these swimmers. It was about teaching them life skills. And one life skill I tried to teach and model is goal setting. How to set personal goals and team goals. How to set short term goals and long term goals. And how to best achieve your goals. Goal setting, goal setting, goal setting!
High Intention, Low Attachment
A principle that helped many swimmers with goal setting is what we called High Intention Low Attachment. It’s simple but powerful. Here it is in a nutshell.
High Intention. This is the “how to set goals” part of the equation. Set your goals with the highest intention of accomplishing them. Goals should stretch you. They should be just out of your reach and cause you to push yourself.
Low Attachment. This is the “secret weapon” in goal setting. Low attachment means if you do not accomplish your goal, it doesn’t ruin your day, week, month, or year. Are you bummed? Yes. Would you have rather achieve your goal than not? Of course! But you don’t let it get you too down. You don’t get stuck. You acknowledge your disappointment – you even embrace it. But you are not so attached to your goal that it keeps you from living it forward.
Swim team creates an awesome environment for teaching high intention low attachment goal setting. Most swimmers compete in four or five events during a swim meet. The best swimmers set goals for each event and have every intention of accomplishing those goals (i.e. high intention). If they miss the mark in an event, they can’t let it ruin the rest of their swim meet. If they do, they might miss out on their best swim of the night.
So instead, they have to acknowledge and even embrace the fact that they didn’t accomplish their goal. Yet they must also quickly let go of what they didn’t accomplish quickly (i.e. low attachment) and start preparing for their next event (i.e. high intention again). This gives them their best shot at accomplishing the goal they set for that event.
High Intention Low Attachment. Definitely a key to success in goal setting!
I challenge you to use the principle of high intention low attachment in your goal setting. I guarantee you’ll find it incredibly helpful.
Photography Copyright: 123 RF / CRAIG ROBINSON
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