At the beginning of a new year, everyone seems to be setting goals and making resolutions for the year. I have already set my dog training goals in an earlier post.
Why do we (I) set goals?
**Goals let us think about a specific outcome we would like to achieve.
**Goals give us motivation to achieve those outcomes.
**Goals allow us to make a plan and give us direction to follow through.
**Goals encourage us to work harder and achieve things that would otherwise not be possible.
I have my broad goals for the year written down on this blog, but inside those larger goals, are more detailed, specific goals. For example: I have a goal of getting Bosley's CDX. A big goal indeed. But inside that big goal of "CDX" are all the little components that I need to work on (motivation, effort, not anticipating, rock solid stays, etc). Breaking down a large goal into little pieces, makes the goal seem much less daunting.
When making goals, they should be SMART.
S - Specific - rather than "I want to get agility titles" a specific goal would be "I want to work on distance and get a gamblers title". Goals must be well defined and broken down into manageable pieces.
M - Measurable - In dog training the most common measure of a goal is a "Q' or title. But it can be measured by smaller increments as well, but you must determine what defines success before you start.
A - Achievable - If a goal is not achievable, you will become frustrated and give up. Be honest with yourself - break things into smaller goals if you need to.
R - Realistic - Be honest about your dog and your training and don't set goals that are unrealistic. Goals should be set so that they are within your expertise and your dog's capabilities.
T - Timely - Setting a goal too far into the future will likely lead to procrastination. Setting a goal too near in the future will likely not give you time to get there and result in giving up. You need enough time to complete your goal and keep you motivated.
I hope that everyone has at least a couple goals to work towards this year - dog related or not. It is also important to remember that it is OK to change and adjust goals as we go along. Things change, priorities change and goals evolve. It is OK to take a step back and re-evaluate where we are going and how we want to get there.