It’s that time of year when most people set their goals for the new year. There is something amazingly new and fresh about wiping the slate clean and being intentional with how you are going to spend your time going forward into the next year.
As a gymnast, it’s incredibly important to use goals to your advantage to achieve success and to have a big picture idea of what you want to gain out of this next year. Goals keep you focused on what you’re trying to achieve and help you effectively channel your energy so that you are more intentional with your actions. However, it’s equally important that you’re setting the correct goals and not just throwing out random goals in hopes they are the right ones.
The best way to set effective goals is to take time at the beginning of your year to go through a process of evaluating and recommitting to your goals. Although your competitive season might run similar to a school schedule where it spans over 2019-2020, we think recommitting to your goals in the new calendar year makes sense in the overall picture of your season. With a new year comes a fresh start and a feeling of renewed energy. So it’s the perfect time to take advantage of this process.
The first step in evaluating your past year is to reflect on how things went. This gives you a chance to think about what worked for you and what didn’t work for you in the past 12 months. You are starting with the big picture first and then you can get more specific.
To start, sit down in a quiet place and think back to 2019 as a whole. What things worked well for you? What things felt hard or uneasy for you? What events stand out in your mind the most? When you think of 2019, how would you describe it to someone? Was it a time of growth, injury, disappointment, celebration, success? This type of reflection gives you the big picture feeling for 2019 and can guide you into some deeper questions about things that you might consider to be sticky points or undesirable outcomes.
Once you’ve taken the time to reflect on the bigger picture of 2019, you can then be more specific and reflect on your year in a detailed way. To do this, you should reflect on the different areas related to gymnastics such as Practice, Meets, Relationships with your Teammates and Coaches, School, your Social Life outside of the gym, and Wellness. Using our Year in Review pdf download, write down your thoughts so you can look back on them when you recommit to your goals for 2020.
Below are specific questions to get you thinking:
Practice: Did you consistently give your all at practice or were you slacking off a lot? Did you arrive focused and ready to learn? Did you listen to your coach and try your hardest? Did you set small goals for your week and work towards them or did you aimlessly show up to practice with no focus? Did you show up for practice on time or did you consistently show up late and unprepared? Did you skip out on your last few reps of conditioning or come out of your splits before your time was up?
Skills: Did you learn a lot of new skills? If not, why not? Were you afraid? Did you not try hard enough? Did you have mental blocks? Were you focused on just learning one or two really big skills instead of a lot of little ones? Did you give up too easily?
Meets (if meet season hasn’t started yet, you need to think back to the beginning of 2019 to your last season): Did you get so nervous at meets that it affected your performance? Did you feel tired or unprepared when you went to your meets? Were you motivated to compete and do well? Did you enjoy competing? Did you focus too much on your scores?
Relationship with your Teammates: Did you have a good bond with your teammates? Did you speak nicely when talking about them? Did you gossip about them? Did you feel like you were part of a team? Did you have friends at the gym? Did you lean on your teammates when you were having a tough day at practice? Did your team feel like your family?
Relationship with your Coach: Were you able to communicate effectively with your coach? Did you feel that your coach understood you? Were you respectful of him or her? Did you listen to your coach?
School: Were you able to juggle gymnastics with the demands of school, homework, and tests? Did you manage your time effectively? Did you stay up late doing homework often? Did your grades suffer? Did you join any clubs at school or get involved with after school activities? Did you have friends at school? Were you using small pockets of time in between classes or on your drive to the gym to your advantage?
Social Life Outside the Gym: Did you have any friendships outside of the gym? Were you involved in any activities other than gymnastics? Did you attend any events for school on the weekends? Did you spend enough time with your family? Were you nice to your siblings or did you fight with them all the time?
Wellness: Did you get enough sleep each night? Were you eating healthy, nourishing foods often? Did your body stay injury-free? Were you sick a lot? Did you take “down” time to recharge? Did you journal and write down your thoughts throughout the year or did you keep it all bottled up inside?
These are just some areas to think about when reflecting on your year. You might have other things that were important to you. Maybe you switched gyms, moved to a new place, had changes in your family dynamic, repeated the same level for the second year in a row, went to a new school, or anything else that was a milestone in your life. Reflect on those things as well.
After you have reflected on your season and written down some of the things that stood out to you, now is the chance to decide what you’d like to be different about 2020. This is when you get to evaluate your year and prioritize the important goals in your life. Think about what matters to you most for this upcoming year. What are the most important areas in your life that you’d like to improve?
When first starting, it’s best to look at each of the areas above and pick one or two things you’d like to focus on improving in each area. For each category, what are the things that weren’t working for you? Pick 1-2 of those things. Also, write down things that WERE working for you so that you can continue to do those things. If a particular category felt good to you then just write down the good things that you’d like to continue doing.
Taking the things you felt did not work well for you, turn them around in a way to make them positive. For example, if you felt burnt out by the end of 2019, think of things you can do to keep yourself free from burnout. Maybe you need to add in an extra rest day during the week, compete in less meets, take more time to have fun with friends at home, or be more intentional with when you complete your homework. Write these ideas down. Maybe you were fearful to try new skills which might mean that you should focus on doing mental routines and working on improving your mental toughness skills this year.
Go through each area and write down 1-2 things you’d like to do better in 2020.
Here’s an example:
Practice: Show up on time to practice and have a good attitude everyday.
Skills: Do my mental routines everyday and try 3 new skills this season.
Meets: Get a good night of sleep before my meets and do deep breathing before I compete to calm me down.
Relationships with Teammates: Say something nice to at least one teammate every practice.
Relationship with Your Coach: Set up a meeting with my coach to discuss my goals for the season.
School: Get my homework done during my free periods at school and in small pockets of time when I can. Study for my tests daily so I’m not cramming at the end.
Social Life outside of the Gym: Have one playdate a month with a friend from school. Go to 2 birthday parties this year for my non-gym friends.
Wellness: Go to sleep at the same time each night. Take two hours on Sunday to do something that makes me feel good (dance, listen to music, watch tv, draw).
Now go back and add in the things that were already working for you in 2019 that you can continue to do in 2020:
Practice: Show up on time to practice and have a good attitude everyday. Continue setting weekly goals and tracking them each week.
Skills: Do my mental routines everyday and try 3 new skills this season. Continue my conditioning at home so I can keep getting stronger.
Meets: Get a good night of sleep before my meets and do deep breathing before I compete my routines to calm me down. Continue focusing on having fun instead of my scores.
Relationships with Teammates: Say something nice to at least one teammate every practice. Continue having sleepovers and playdates with my teammates.
Relationship with Your Coach: Set up a meeting with my coach to discuss my goals for the season. Continue listening to my coach and trusting her suggestions.
School: Get my homework done during my free periods at school and in small pockets of time when I can. Study for my tests daily so I’m not cramming at the end. Continue getting my homework done on the bus ride home from school and on the way to practice.
Social Life outside of the Gym: Have one playdate a month with a friend from school. Go to 2 birthday parties this year for my non-gym friends. Continue with my after-school club.
Wellness: Go to sleep at the same time each night. Take two hours on Sunday to do something that makes me feel good (dance, listen to music, watch tv, draw). Continue eating healthy food and drinking lots of water each day.
Recommitting to Your Goals
Now that you have a list of the things that worked for you in 2019 as well as the things you want to improve on in 2020, you’re ready to create a Vision board with your intentions for 2020. In this past post you’ll find all the info for how to create a vision board. Even if you’ve created one in the past, we think you should create a new one for each calendar year.
Once your Vision Board is complete you should put it where you can see it everyday! Let the images and words on the board inspire you to imagine yourself achieving those goals.
One of the best ways to have a successful 2020 is to start by reflecting on your 2019 and figuring out what worked and what didn’t work for you. You can start with a general reflection to get a feel for how your year was as a whole but then narrow it in to different aspects of your life to get more specific. Using these thoughts, you can then create a picture of the life you’d like to experience in 2020. A vision board will put all of this together in one place so that you can look at it daily and remind yourself of the amazing year you are going to have!