Hey, wake up. It's about time you set some sailing goals for 2006. Look at Seadated -- he had his 2006 goals posted on his blog on December 29th. And over at Stay of Execution, Scheherezade is challenging her college sailors to set goals for 2, 10 and 20 weeks.
So what? Why do I need goals? Can't I just go out and sail and have fun?
You know you want to be a better sailor. Well, it isn't just going to happen. You need to set yourself some targets and work out what you need to do to achieve them.
You mean like the time back in 1996 when I set myself the goal of qualifying for the US Team for the Sunfish Worlds within two years?
Yeah. That was a good one. And you made it. Don't you feel good about that?
Well, yes and no. When I got the letter in June 1996 saying I had qualified for the Worlds I was pretty pumped up. And I had a great time that year in the Dominican Republic and at the other Worlds that I was invited to ...
There you go. You know I'm right.
No you're not. Turns out that my performance in the 1995 North Americans was what got me that invitation. So I had already achieved my goal by the time I set it. And then I discovered that the goal wasn't all that hard anyway. You don't actually have to win a Regional or be in the top seven at the NAs like the rules say. So many people who qualify turn down their invitations that they have to dig really deep in the fleets to find folk who want to go to the Worlds. Some years they practically have to beg folk to attend.
OK. So that was a bad example. But you still need goals. You won't improve unless you set goals.
Like my goal that I had in 2004 to finish in the top half of the fleet at the Laser Masters Worlds in Cadiz?
Yeah -- that was a good goal. Simple, realistic, clear and measurable. I know it was realistic because in the previous two Master Worlds you were at about the 75th percentile of your age group. So all you had to do was to move up 20 places in an 80 boat fleet. How did it work out?
Pathetic. I was totally crushed. Three quarters of the way down the fleet again.
Why was that? Did you develop sub-goals -- a plan of what you needed to do to improve your game?
I sure did. I actually made a list of 20 things I was going to do differently at the regatta and a training activity to achieve each one of them. That way I convinced myself that it was feasible to make every single one of the 20 gains in position. And I made a list of 15 new things I was going to do in preparation for the regatta.
That sounds good. So why didn't it work out as you had hoped?
Well, in retrospect I guess it was lack of focus. Too many things to focus on. And lack of commitment to work on them all. Like I said before, I really just want to go out and sail and have fun.
You're probably right. It would be better to select, say, three weaknesses and to spend a year working on them.
There you go again. Nag, nag, nag. Didn't you read the church sign? I just want to mess about in boats.
Well there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose. But I'm sure you'll feel a greater sense of accomplishment if you set some goals and achieve them. What about when you ran your first marathon?
Well, yes, I did feel good about achieving that. And I suppose to get there I had to set a goal of running the race and commit to the training program to be able to achieve it.
There you go. You know I'm right. So what about some sailing goals?
Well, it's complicated this year. You know we're planning to move to Rhode Island but I don't know when we'll be able to make that happen. So I don't even know where I'll be sailing or what regattas I'll be doing. Can't I just have a goal to do a whole heap of Laser sailing?
Hardly measurable is it? And it's just a goal to participate; not to achieve a certain outcome.
You never give up, do you? What's wrong with goals to participate in events? Like the time I set myself a goal of finishing every race in the frostbite series and I was the only one out of over a hundred sailors to do 100% of the races and I won the Ironman award. That was a good season wasn't it?
If you say so. Do you have some participation goals for 2006?
Ummm. Well ... not exactly.
See? You're just drifting along. No direction. No focus.
Hey, back off. I'm retired. All this talk of goals and targets and objectives is too much like all the crap I had to put up with when I was working.
Sorry dude. Don't get your panties in a wad. So how would you sum up what you're going to do this year?
We're going to finish getting the house ready to sell and then we're going to put it on the market. And when we've sold it we're going to buy a new house and move to Rhode Island. And wherever we are I'm going to do as much Laser sailing as I can, both practice and regattas. And I'm not going to stress out over the results. What will be, will be.
OK. Sounds like a plan. Good luck.
Wait. I haven't finished. I'm going to explore opportunities for giving something back to the sport near where we'll be living, maybe teaching kids, or helping with community sailing or disabled sailing. And I'm going to choose another marathon and train for that and try and run a new personal best.
Wow. That's almost a goal.
Don't be sarcastic. And I'm going to look into some way of having a boat that I can use to take out friends and family for day sailing on Naragansett Bay. And if there's somewhere I can do kayaking I'm going to have a go at that too.
Slow down. I can't keep up with it all. That sounds like a pretty ambitious plan.
Like I said dude. Just messing about in boats ... Simply messing ... messing ... about ...in ... boats.