A few weeks ago I started coaching the Steeple Station Stingrays Swim Team again. This is my 12th summer season as a head coach (10th with this team). I’m working with 170 swimmers ages 4-18. You can read more about our Swim Team here.
One thing I love about coaching the Steeple Station Stingrays (try saying that 10x fast) is working with our teenage swimmers. It’s not just about stroke technique with these swimmers. It’s about life skills. And one life skill I try 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. How to achieve goals and objectives. Goal setting. Goal setting. Goal setting!
A principle that helps many swimmers with goal setting is what we call 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 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 (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!
Question: How do you (or can you) use the principle of high intention low attachment in your goal setting?