One of the first items on your agenda will be to set goals for you and your dog. The old adage, “there are only so many hours in a day” holds true when you are making short and long term goals. You will have to decide exactly how much time and effort you are willing to devote to training. The results of your efforts and time spent will be reflected in your dog’s ability to learn and execute skills consistently.
Goal-setting is a powerful method for achievement as it provides a way to view objectives and changes. Goals can be set for daily, weekly, monthly or yearly target dates. Setting goals focuses attention to the important aspects of the mission. The key to setting effective goals is to create objective goals that can be measured and give direction.
The following will help you set YOUR goals:
- Ask yourself what you want to work toward and achieve. Goals need to be in your control, challenging yet realistic and positive. Positive goals direct what to do rather than what not to do!
- Effective goals are very specific. The clearer the objective the easier to imagine and obtain.
- Use short-term goals to help reach long-term goals. Short-term goals can provide more motivation since they are more readily achievable and make great stepping stones.
- Effective goals are limited in number and important to you. Setting a limited number of goals requires that you decide what is the most useful for your continued development. Establishing a few, carefully selected goals also allow you to keep accurate records without becoming overwhelmed.
- Set specific Time Lines. Target dates have a tendency to remove lighthearted ideas and clarify what goals are realistic and which are not.
- Create action steps. These steps are going to help you achieve your goal and will define the actions you need to take to reach your goals. The number of action steps depends on the goals you set.
- Write down your goals and post them in places where they will be seen throughout the day. Place a sticky note on the fridge or your bathroom mirror or an index card in your training bag or car. Visual cues will increase the likelihood you will achieve your goal.
- Track your progress. Use a notebook, calendar, or anything you can log information so you can monitor your progress. Writing down and reviewing your progress will help you stay motivated and repeatedly remind you of where you were and how far you have come.
- When asked to set goals, many people typically focus on the learning of new skills or performances in competitions. Goals can cover many aspects of your training, showing or life. Some goal examples might include, improve fitness, increase metal toughness, or establish better timing and consistency.
When carefully thought out and written, goals give direction and tell us what we need in order to accomplish our dreams. Establishing goals also helps obtain information and ways for how to achieve the goals.