As we talked about in part 1 of this goal setting series, competitive Irish dancing is a tough sport these days. Results may feel very subjective, the top dancers are working harder than ever, and setting a broad goal like “do better” won’t get you to the top anymore. That said, if you’re prepared to set specific goals and work hard to get there, you can reach those goals. And you don’t have to be a champion level dancer to benefit from proper goal setting – even beginners who just want to master a skip-2-3 can benefit.
Click here to read part one of how to focus on proper goal setting.
Once you’ve read that, read on for more specific tips and tricks to put your goals into action, based on the plan below.
Line 1: Start with an overall broad goal
The top of the pyramid is where you place your biggest, ultimate goal. It’s ok to make this a long term goal, or one that you know is still out of reach. This is the line where you want to place your “ultimate grand supreme goal”. Examples of this top level goal include: recall at Oireachtas, place top 3 at Worlds, make it out of Prizewinner, or even learn hardshoe dances.
Line 2: Identify mid-level items to accomplish in order to reach the big goal.
There may be more than three things that you need to accomplish before you reach your big goal. If you’re just starting off though, identify the three main items that you know need to work on. A good trick to identify these things would be to take a look at your latest comments from judges at a feis, or even ask your teacher what they think you need to work on! Examples of mid-level items include: increase stamina, higher clicks, improve posture.
Line 3: “actionable items” that you will focus on in practice.
This is the level at which your goal setting has to get very specific. It’s not enough at this point to say “work on doing this better”; this is where you have to answer the “how” of your goal. Look at each item on line 2, and think about how specifically you can reach that. For example, if line 2 says “increase stamina”, line 3 might say “cross train 3x/week doing skipping or cross training exercises. The more specific you are at this level, the more you will set yourself up for success on the next level, and in turn are more able to reach the ultimate goal.
This exercise is something that every dancer at every level can benefit from. And don’t stop at only three items; it’s ok to set multiple goals, or re-do the 3 level plan once you’ve accomplished each smaller item. Planning your goals with this exercise can help you stay focused on things that are within your control, rather than on more vague goals like “place higher” or “do better”. And by changing the focus from the end result, to individual things you can control, you’ll be able to bounce back from a disappointing feis result even faster- moving on to bigger and better things!
Comment or share on Facebook with what your goals are, and when you reach them. Inspire your fellow dancers!
Ps- click here to download your own copy of the Happy Dancer’s goal setting plan.