Post By: Nastasja Minja | Tuesday, June 2, 2020

sport psychology performance STRESS goals

This time we are going to touch upon one of the most popular and one of the most effective (at least so they say) mental strategies to manage those stress levels and enhance your performance in every single aspect of your life.

Goal setting.

That's the bathrobe you put on every morning or the jacket you tie around your waist before heading out to conquer your day or simply hang out with your buddies.

However, in order to get the best use of your bathrobe is to make sure you have its belt tied around it. Or in case of your jacket – a zipper. That's what saves you when the cold wind starts blowing.

When we talk about goals this zipper that makes them stick to our motivation for achieving them are no more and no less than our values.

I really want this to sink in, so let's do a quick exercise.


Think about the least important thing in your life right now, something that you have absolutely no interest in.

Here's mine: politics.

Now invent a goal in relation to the thing you wrote by using the SMART principle. If you haven't heard of it before, here's a quick cheat sheet:

S – specific

M – measurable

A – attainable

R – relevant

T – time based

In my case the first SMART goal would be:

I will study the 7 most relevant political parties of my country from 1st of June until the 7th of June, one per day, spending 2 hours every day. The last day I will make a presentation to my family and ask for their evaluation from 1-10 on my knowledge, taking into consideration that the starting point is undoubtedly 0.

S – 7 most relevant politic parties (should have written their names, but due to the lack of interest, I took a shortcut)

M – final evaluation from the committee and my follow-up on everyday progress

A – I could do it… but I won't ?

R – I guess it would be relevant for upgrading my general knowledge

T – start date, end date, exact time frame for each day

Huh, glad that's over…

Now think about the most important thing in your life that you want to achieve right now and set your SMART goal. Make sure to pick something truly meaningful.

In my case it would be to write my first book and publish it online.

The result of following the goal-setting protocol would be this:

Write my first book on the topic of *let's keep that a secret* and publish it online by the end of August 2020. Spend 2 to 4 hours every weekday for preparation, writing, editing and proofreading from this day forward. The final version would be ready for publishing by the 31st of August, mistake-free and somewhere between 40 to 60 pages long.

S – write a 40-60 pages long book on the topic of*let's keep that a secret*

M – following and measuring my everyday writing progress

A – if I try hard, I know I can do it… and I will!

R – develop further my writing skills and make an important step forward by publishing my first book

T – 2 to 4 hours every weekday from this day forward (in your case, make sure to define “this day” in terms of MM/DD/YYYY); finalized and published by 31st of August

I hope these examples gave you some insights into the important aspects your goals should have and that you have managed to complete the two exercises with much less brain-wrecking than myself. In case you had troubles setting the two SMART goals, don't be too hard on yourself, as the process can be tough enough on its own.

Let's go back to the zipper. So if the two goals were two different jackets, you would agree that the first one is “zipperless” and the second one has the zipper to it. So the last thing we ought to do is actually zip it up. How?

Ask yourself the following 3 questions:

1| What's the value in me achieving this?

2| What's another value in me achieving this?

3| What else?

My answers:

1| Improving my writing skills and devoting some time daily for creativity.

2| Finally digging deeper into the topic of *let's keep that a secret*.

3| Helping others with my book.

And there you have it. Congratulations for completing the exercise. I know it was most probably a tough one (at least for me it was).


As you can see, it is REALLY important to ask yourself about the value a goal brings to your life or life of others. Even if you feel like it's self-explanatory most of the time. I, for example, ended up finding and defining my true value at the last one of the 3 questions – “to help others with my book”. And that's going to be my main drive and my main direction.

Once you manage to zip your goals up this way, you will have more motivation for the process of achieving them and that's something that will definitely benefit your performance in various significant ways.

Furthermore, it will reduce your stress in achieving your less meaningful goals. We all know how painful it can be to put effort and time into something you don't feel like doing. I can't even imagine going through my first SMART goal from this article. But if I find value in it – e.g. a friend asks me for help with his project on national politics OR someone pays me a lot of money to do it (a LOT) OR I suddenly decide I want to be able to involve myself into conversations about politics with my friends (not going to happen), then all of a sudden my stress levels significantly drop down. After all, I have a zipped jacket protecting me from the torturous hurricane of this task.

I hope you found at least one zipper in reading this article. As for me, I am tying up my bathrobe belt and heading to bed to get some quality sleep for my recovery, health and performance. Hint: the topic of my next article.

Until then, if you would like some one-on-one help with setting your value-based goals, reach out to us at Mindurance platform and meet with a mental performance coach.

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley