Focus on the Whole Team: New Year, New Goals

December 28th, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: New Year, New Goals

New Year

With most athletic programs, the offseason gives the administration, coaches, and athletes an opportunity to look over the past year. What went right? What went wrong? In what areas can we get better? What are the goals moving forward? New Year’s resolutions bring similar questions. With most people deciding on a resolution, here are a few tips to increase the likelihood of sticking with your resolution.

Difference Between Strategies and Tool

The college athletics arms race is at an all-time high. These new facilities are great for the recruitment and retention of donors, sponsors, employees, fans and student athletes. But they are not strategies. They are tools. When developing your health resolution, products and services such as treadmills or personal trainers are just tools. You need to think deeper. When will you use them? How will you use them? Why will you use them? Develop a strategy to use the assets you have available.

Pick One Strategy, Do It Well

All athletic departments have a strategic plan. This plan outlines the department’s vision, goals, strategies, and timeline. Several goals and strategies are typically in these plans. But like any plan, you can’t do everything at once. Same goes for your resolution. Overall health is the combination of multiple healthy behaviors at once. For beginners, pick one focal point and one strategy. For example, you want to change poor behaviors in nutrition, hydration, and sleep. For example, you want to focus on hydration. Drink a glass of water with each meal and snack. Work on that strategy till it becomes a habit then move to another.

Make it So You Can’t Say No

As with any strategic plan, there are goals and strategies that are easier than others. Those that are easier to do are usually the first taken care of. If a goal is to have your teams compete at the highest level, the strategy of creating a long-term list of needed sports equipment is easier than a strategy of increasing annual operating budgets. Health works the same way. There are strategies that are harder to carry out. Changing your nutrition may be a tough move in the beginning, but drinking water daily is easier. Pick the easier strategy to gain confidence early.

Focus on Habits, Not Results

College coaches and administrators are known for being process driven. They set outcome and performance goals, but their daily focus is on process goals. Nick Saban is famous for his “focus on today” mentality. Health goals are similar. It is important to have outcome and performance goals, but you need to outline your daily goals. For example, your outcome goal is to win the office weight management contest. Your performance goal is to lose ten pounds. Your daily process goals may include building a healthy plate for each meal, drinking a glass of water with each meal, going to sleep at 10 pm, and engaging in a form of exercise for 30 minutes. Daily habits will get you results. Focus on those habits.

The New Year gives us a chance to start over. It is important that you understand the difference between a strategy and a tool, master one strategy before moving on, start small so you can’t say no, and habit build. Don’t over complicate things. Any change is for the good no matter how small. 

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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