Process Goal Setting For The New Year

Written By Mali Gaber

With the New Year upon us resolutions and goals are trendy topics of the season.  As athletes, we set goals for many reasons. Goals keep us motivated through the long Wisconsin winter and give us a sense of purpose. They help us focus and can lead towards greater satisfaction in training and racing. However, if the goals are unsuitable or unsupported they can be a setup for disappointment.

In order to set yourself up for success, it’s critical to set realistic yet challenging goals that are within your realm of control. The main pitfall for many athletes is they set outcome-based goals and focus solely on performance rather than dialing into the process.

When setting goals, athletes typically dream along the lines of “top 10 in my age group,” “average 20+ mph on the bike,” or “qualify for Kona.” The issue with these outcome-based goals is that they are outside of your control to a certain extent. External factors such as weather, mechanicals, or other competitors can affect performances. 

Instead of focusing on the result, shift the focus to the process and what’s in your control. How do you do this? Break down the performance by setting complimentary process-based goals. Such as, “maintain a high elbow in the second half of the swim,” “keep my cadence in check during the bike,” or “focus on keeping my shoulders relaxed during the run.” As the examples illustrate, the major difference between process-oriented goals and outcome-based goals is that you have significantly more control over process goals.

Retraining yourself to focus on the process rather than the performance will lead to greater goal satisfaction, and in many cases a better outcome.

Our mission at SBR is to help you become your personal best. We educate, guide, and motivate you to the athletic goals you want to achieve. The coaches at SBR Endurance Performance Center want to help you succeed at your goals. Contact for questions or to set up an appointment to set up a plan to achieve your goals. Spend an hour with us for specific goal setting and we can help you create a plan of action.

Jessica Laufenberg