Goal Setting in Sport and Exercise

Goal Setting in Sport and Exercise: Holly Dobbyn

Not only is it vital that we set goals for ourselves day to day, but it is critical as an athlete if we want to continue to improve, strive forward and achieve success. Goal setting can be quite difficult for some, as so many factors can warp our perception of them. “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never run that time” and “I’m always injured” are some of the many quotes I’ve voiced when trying to set my own goals. Stress and injuries over the past 4 years have made it challenging for me to realise my potential, however, I have tried to remain resilient!

One of the more optimistic and positive ways to help drive your goal setting is certainly the passion you have for your chosen sport. I’ve spent over 15 years of my life running and I still have this burning desire to be better and run faster. Of course, I’ve had my days (and months) where I’ve hated training, not wanted to be there, and have been close to taking a break from it all. However, I remember those times of satisfaction and remind myself that anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy. There is nothing greater than achieving a goal that you’ve set yourself because only you know how much determination and motivation you have put into it.

In 2014, I was extremely fortunate to have won the Women’s 120m Stawell Gift. I was only 17 at the time and to this day, I can positively say that I’m very proud of myself and I will cherish that day for the rest of my life. My journey to Stawell conversely, was slightly unplanned but from the very beginning I believed that I could do it.

A week out from the Ballarat Gift earlier in the 2014 season, I tore my hamstring. Words could not describe how devastated I was. It was my first ever major injury and to have happened right before so many of my seasons major goals I couldn’t have been any more disappointed. The next day I was told that it would be a good 6 weeks before I could run at top speed; States, Nationals and any chance I had of making the World Juniors were gone. The only event I could possibly be ready for was the Stawell gift, which was 8 weeks away. Many may think, what’s the point in trying to set a goal for something that could be too difficult to accomplish in that time. This thought however, never crossed my mind. I don’t believe I’ve ever had that much determination or motivation to achieve something like I did for those two months. I proved to myself that if you want something bad enough and work hard for it, then yes, it is achievable.

Four years have passed and unfortunately I’ve been riddled with injuries since my win at Stawell. It’s been so difficult to work hard every year towards a goal then to have it taken away due to injury. It doesn’t seem fair and it can chip away at you. Nonetheless, It’s essential to remain resilient and to make new goals. So, you couldn’t compete at nationals, you couldn’t lift that weight during squats, you didn’t make that time to qualify for your race. Remember, you can always reorganize and reset goals. Fortunately, this past season I’ve avoided serious injury and finally had a win at the 2018 Women’s Rye Gift. I was overjoyed, not only was it a confirmation that I’m running well but it was reminder that you shouldn’t give up on something that you love because, ultimately hard work and persistence will pay off.

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