Four Tips for Goal Setting in 2020 - Work In Sports Podcast

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the Work in Sports podcast. 

Last week I was in Phoenix for or business summit. The whole team at Work In Sports gets together -- we talk business, set strategy for the coming year, brainstorm ideas and features, crack a few beers eat some bad food -- it’s a great time. 

Oh, and I almost forgot -- we set goals. 

I’ve never been a big goal setter. Guess I never chose to look too far into the future, I always liked to be where I am and stay present in the moment. Which now that it say it out loud sure sounds like I’m a tree-hugging hippie...which in some ways I guess I am. 

But as I age… and since I have a birthday this week, this whole aging thing is smacking me right in the face… as i age, I do tend to look to the future more, I do tend to set goals and have expectations… and you know what? It feels pretty darn good each year when you hit them, or surpass them.

Two years ago, I had a goal to launch a podcast for our brand. Check that box. I also had a goal for 1 million downloads. Haven’t checked that box.

Last year I had a goal to create an online curriculum sharing the knowledge no one teaches you in college about getting hired in sports. Check that box. Welcome to the Work In Sports Academy. 

So I’m a goals guy now. And I kind of like it. I can still be where I am, still, feel present in the moment, but now I try to see where I’m going to be standing and how cool it looks -- just a little bit more.

It’s incredibly motivating not just to have a goal, but to visualize what it will look and feel like when you hit it. I don’t know about you, but the visualization I have of what I will look like and feel like when I hit my goals is pretty awesome -- I’m super handsome, have a great tan, the sun is shining but I’m not sweating, my bosses are patting me on the back, my wife is laughing at my jokes… and my kids just look at me with such admiration.

And.. daydream complete. 

Any way this dovetails brilliantly into today’s question from Kevin in Washington state. 

Kevin Asks… 

Hey Brian -- I’ve never heard you talk much about goal setting and its importance in advancing in your career and life. Can you provide any tips for setting goals that help drive you forward in your career?”

Yes, Kevin. I can. My goal is to answer this question for you. 

But, with a caveat. There are hundreds of goal setting articles out there that will tell you how to set goals, SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. 

I could sit here and go through that kind of stuff… but someone else has spent decades writing this acronym and all the details of every term… you’d be better off listening to their podcast.  

What I’d rather do is give you tips that can help you make your goals as logical as possible. 


1. Write goals that align with your values.


You’ll have bosses in life that want your goals to be all about the business and how you are driving it forward… but that’s uninspiring. And at the same time, if you only set goals that are personal in nature than a huge percentage of your life, which is spent at work, is a rudderless disarray of moments with no true direction

You need to make goals that fit your personal and professional life, that would give you joy and a sense of accomplishment in each...and the best way to do that is staying true to your values and what motivates you. 

Your goals need to be about you -- but remember a big part of you is your work life, so don’t forget to incorporate what motivates you there as well.

2: Set Goals You Can Control.

Saying you are going to get a job you love this year is not a goal you can control. You can’t control someone else deciding to hire you. You might as well be setting a goal saying “I’m going to get a girlfriend this year!” to which I would ask… does she have a choice in the matter because you sound a little desperate. 

Make goals for things like grades, internships, volunteering, learning new skills, understanding the marketplace, mastering Linkedin, adding people to your network, attending conferences, joining groups… these are all things you can control by your actions and you can achieve. 

Don’t set yourself up to fail by making a goal you have no control over. You can only control your actions, not other people’s reactions.

And no, you can’t set a goal to get a girlfriend.  

3: Give Yourself Time

Go through your goals with thorough intention -- this isn’t a race, you don’t need to break the land speed records for achieving goals. In fact, the faster you achieve them the less meaning they likely had. 

Make them challenging enough that you'll feel something when you accomplish them. YOu want to make this feel like a huge win for you. Write that shit down too.

4: Plan for success

So many people, right after setting goals, become consumed with what it will look like if they don't reach them. Just another failure.  My boss hates me. Blah blah blah. 

There is a mentality for success. 

I used to have a friend -- we’ll I think we’re still friends - we haven’t talked in a while, but anyway… he was pretty chubby, and when we’d go out to eat something… no matter what I ordered he’d say some remark like “must be nice to have a fast metabolism”

Talk about Eeyore. Every time I’d get defensive and say something like -- dude I ran 5 miles this morning before you even got your fat A out of bed so don’t tell me about fast metabolism, I earn this shit. 

Lesson: I get defensive pretty easy. 

Lesson #2: You have to believe good things can happen to you, that everything you do is part of a process to rech where you want to be. It all happens in steps, there is no quick fix to anything worth having. 

Lesson #3: Don’t be the A-hole that brings others down. If you are the person talking that way to your friends, you’re becoming toxic in their life and their next goal may be to remove the toxic people from their life. 

So Kevin -- and everyone else -- goals are about attitude. Make sure they align with who you are, you can control the results by your actions, that you give yourself time and steps to achieve them… and you believe you can do them. 

So get out there and get to work… it’s almost Christmas and I want your goals on my desk by January 1st. 

By Brian Clapp | December 16, 2019
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