Happy New Year! It's that time of year when we're all thinking about making resolutions, achieving goals, and just being a better person in the coming year. I know that's how I feel at the beginning of each year. And since 2009, I've been including my tennis game in my goal setting plans. Each year, I try to set some very simple goals that I hope to accomplish and that I hope will have a positive impact on my game.
So that's what I'm talking about in this episode – setting some tennis goals for the new year that will help you to improve your game. And I've got some really good tips, some new and improved tips, to help you achieve those goals.
What is a “Tennis Goal”?
But before we get to that, let's spend just a minute making sure we all understand what tennis goals are. I know that you're hearing a lot right now about self-improvement and making changes in the new year to improve your life, but what is a tennis goal and why is it something you should consider setting and trying to achieve?
A tennis goal is one significant thing you undertake in the new year that will:
- help take your tennis skills up a level,
- help you have more calm, confidence or mental toughness on court, or
- increase your enjoyment of the game.
And why should you have a tennis goal in the new year? Well, if you truly want to improve your game, I believe you’ve got to set goals. Specific, measurable and achievable goals. When I’m thinking about the new year and what tennis goal I’d like to adopt, I go over my game and come up with things to work on all of the time. I have a never ending list of things I need to improve in my tennis game. But at the beginning of the year, I always try to come up with at least one really special goal, my tennis goal, that I’m going to work to achieve in the new year.
How Did I Do With My 2015 Tennis Goals?
Last year, you might remember that I set three goals for myself. I talked about those in Tennis Quick Tips Episode 67 which was called How to Achieve Your Tennis Goals in 2015. My goals were:
- Play in three singles tournaments.
- Get certified to teach Cardio Tennis.
- Add more power and spin to my serve.
And how was I planning to achieve those goals? By using a tennis journal, something I had never really made a part of my tennis goal process before. I talked all about that in Episode 67.
So how did I do with those goals? In my opinion, not so great.
- I only played in one singles tournament. It turns out playing in a singles tournament takes up your entire weekend and I really didn't like that so much. While I do like singles and think it adds a lot to my tennis skills, I didn't like being on call to play and giving up my whole weekend to tennis.
- As I did in 2014, I signed up to get cardio certified in 2016 but then could not attend the one and only weekend that the certification class was offered in my state. For some reason, there was only one certification class in all of Texas during 2015 and the weekend it was scheduled was one of those when the hurricanes came through, and flash flooding, and the weather was truly horrible. It would have required me to drive 5 hours from Houston to Dallas and so, with the awful weather, I cancelled. I wouldn't be surprised if the class itself was cancelled. So another year went be without me getting Cardio Tennis certified.
- I worked on my serve haphazardly, at best. By the time I decided to join three tennis teams AND teach an adult beginner tennis clinic, I really had not left any time for my working on improving my technical skills let alone improving my serve. So I don't think I any progress on my goal of adding power and spin to my serve.
In a nutshell, I didn't achieve my tennis goals in 2015.
But the most disappointing thing for me wasn't that I didn't achieve those goals, it was that I didn't really utilize my tennis journal the way I thought I would. Too many times, I would play a match, hop in my car and drive off, without taking just a few minutes to write something down as I'd promised myself I would. And then later, I would either forget to go back and get my journal out to write in or I'd just get to lazy to do it. By the end of the year, I couldn't even remember what my 2015 tennis goals were and I had to dig my journal out to find them. That's when I noticed what a bad job I'd done with my journal. Which is really disappointing considering how gung-ho I was when I talked about it in Episode 67.
But am I giving up on tennis goals? Am I wallowing in my failure? No, I'm not!
Achieving Your Tennis Goals In 2016
So let's talk about setting some tennis goals for 2016 and just how we can go about achieving them. And first, I want to talk about how you and I can go about achieving our goals, tennis or other-wise. I've got several goal-achieving steps that I'll be applying to my tennis goals, and some other life goals, I've set for myself this year. I think, by following these steps, you and I can do a much better job and get a whole lot closer to achieving our goals in 2016.
My six steps for achieving goals in 2016:
1. Write down your goals.
This was exactly how I started out with my tennis goals in 2015 when I set them out in my tennis journal. I'm doing the same thing this year but I'm not stopping there.
2. Make your goals specific.
I think one of the big problems with my Goal No. 3, the one where I said I wanted to add power and spin to my serve, was that it just wasn't specific enough. It wasn't anything measurable. How would I ever know if I'd achieved that goal? By some feeling I might have? By my opponents telling me “wow, your serve has a lot of power and spin!” Yeah, I don't think that would ever happen. So this year, I won't just have goals – I'll have specific, measurable goals.
3. Develop action steps for each goal.
When I look back at my 2015 goals, the only one that I had a real plan for was the one about getting Cardio Tennis certified. The other two were pretty vague, even my goal to play in three singles tournaments. Because if I'd made myself take the steps required to actually sign up for three singles tournaments, I'd have seen how much time that was going to take. And I would have realized that I wasn't as interested in playing singles by playing in tournaments.
4. Create a timeline for your goals.
With my 2015 goals, I had no deadlines set at all so I never had any pressure on me to try and work towards achieving my goals. But by putting dates towards my goals, specifically towards my action steps, I can hopefully avoid the problem I had last year – reaching the end of the year and finding out that I had run out of time to anything.
5. Reward yourself.
I happen to be the kind of person who not only likes specific plans and steps, I also like to have some incentive for completing my work in a timely manner. By working rewards into my goal-achieving system, I know I am way more likely to work towards my goals.
6. Remind yourself of your goals.
Like I said earlier, when the end of 2015 came around and I was thinking about my annual goal setting review, I could not even remember what goals I had set for myself. This year, I won't let that happen because I'll be posting my goals in a prominent place where I can constantly see them and be reminded of them.
As you can see, in 2016, I've got a much better plan for achieving my tennis goals. I even created a worksheet, something more than must my journal, that I'm going to use to help me with my tennis goals. I call it my “2016 Tennis Goals Worksheet.”
The 2016 Tennis Goals Worksheet
What does this worksheet add to my plan for achieving my goals? I've set it up specifically to help me with the six steps I outlined above. Last year, I used my tennis journal as my only tool for achieving my goals. As I said, I wrote out my goals and then throughout the year I would address them by writing about them in my journal. But I was very haphazard in using my journal to help me achieve my goals. And at some point, I kind of forgot what my goals even were because I didn't look back to remind myself of them. It wasn't until the end of 2015, that I even realized how little I'd done to achieve my goals when it came right down to it.
This year, I'm pretty sure using the Tennis Goals Worksheet will help me do a much better job. This worksheet requires that I not only set a goal but that I set out the specific action steps I'll use to achieve that goal. And that I give them deadlines. And – bonus – that I come up with the reward I'll give myself if I actually follow through and achieve the goal!
I'm including my 2016 Tennis Goals Worksheet as a free download for you here so that you can use this tool to set and achieve your own 2016 tennis goals. Just click on the image below to get a free PDF download of the worksheet.
What Tennis Goals Should You Set For 2016?
Now maybe all of this talk of setting and achieving goals has got you excited about the whole process and you want to take action and improve your game in the new year. But you don't really have any tennis goals set yet and can't think of any good ones. No worries. I've got plenty of great ideas for tennis goals you can go for in 2016. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Play more tennis.
- Play more “fun” tennis.
- Play at a more challenging level.
- Get tennis fit.
- Play more singles.
- Improve your serve.
- Get a real second serve.
- Attend a high-level tennis camp.
- Try a lesson with a new pro.
I've got plenty more to say about fun tennis goals that you can work toward in the new year in some of my past tennis goal posts and I'll have links to all of those in the show notes for this episode.
And what about me? What are my goals in 2016? I'm doing something very different this year. I'm setting out 12 monthly tennis goals for myself. Small things that I am sure I can achieve that will have a big impact on my game. I'm going to talk more about the specifics of that next week so be sure and check back in with me.
I also have some goals that I hope to achieve here at Tennis Fixation, separate from improving my game. I do a big review of my Tennis Fixation website and all of its associated activities, including this podcast. I think it makes for some interesting reading and it keeps me on track for making sure that Tennis Fixation and Tennis Quick Tips provides you with all of the help and guidance that it can in feeding your tennis obsession. You can check that post out and see what I have planned for the new year by going to Tennis Fixation Epic Review of 2015 and Big Goals for 2016.
I hope you'll let me know about your own tennis goals and what you want to achieve in 2016. I love hearing from you and your comments truly help guide me in putting together useful content. You can leave your comment in the comment box below.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE
If you're interested in getting the 2016 Tennis Goals Worksheet, it's very easy to do. Just click HERE for the 2016 Tennis Goals Worksheet PDF download.
Are you looking for some tennis goals and/or resolutions to make in 2016? Check out these posts from previous years for some great ideas:
- How To Achieve Your Tennis Goals In 2015 – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 67
- Tennis Resolutions That Will Improve Your Game In the New Year (2014) – Tennis Quick Tips Episode 26
- Happy New Year – Top Tennis Resolutions for 2013!
- Top Tennis Resolutions for 2012
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Happy New Year and Happy Tennis!
© Kim Selzman 2016 All Rights Reserved