To be high performing we need to start with our mindset. If we get our mind right, first, we can do almost anything. In this article we will go through the first step of getting our mind primed for high performance.

The first step to getting our mindset right at the start is to set a good objective. An objective is a beacon we place in the future that we can look to and move toward. It is what we intend to do, our goal, or our vision. However, we need to set the right objective to avoid fear or boredom from slipping into our minds.

Not having an objective and expecting to perform at a high level is like sailing across the Pacific without a map or stars and expecting to reach Tokyo. We need direction whether we are training, competing, or performing in general. Not knowing what we want to achieve leaves room for despair, pre-mature satisfaction, and mediocrity. The only way we can expect to have our mind in the right place is to have a good objective

Guidelines to Setting a good Objective

A good objective is just beyond our reach—it stretches us but not stresses us. Setting an objective that is easy to reach leads to complacency and reduced motivation. An objective that is too far in the future or stresses us too much opens the door to doubt and quitting. A good general rule is to set an objective that is between a couple weeks and a couple months from completion. The purpose of an objective is to give us guidance so we know what we need to do in the present to get to where we want to go.

Another attribute of a good objective is that it has personal meaning to us. We need purpose to keep us motivated. If our objective is not meaningful it will be easier to dismiss it and give up. But the more it is based in our purpose, the more we will work, persist, and believe in it.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting an objective is that they make it too vague. If we want to sail the Pacific and reach Tokyo we can’t just set coordinates for Japan, we have to set them for Tokyo. A more specific objective will give us more specific guidance in what we need to do today to get to our destination.

Another benefit of having a specific objective is that it increases the accountability built into the objective. We know when we have reached the mark and when we have fallen short. Abstract objectives leave room for error, and mediocrity.


To have the right mindset from the start we need an objective, and not any objective, but a good one. A good objective should be:

-A little beyond our reach

-Personally meaningful to us—it needs to give us purpose

-Measurable—the greater the measurability the more potent the accountability


1) Write out in detail what you want to achieve in this next year. This is your yearly objective.

2) Now, break down your yearly objective into stepping stones or mile markers. What do you have to achieve each month to reach your yearly objective? These mile markers will be the objective you write in step 1 of The Cognitive Structured Journal.

3) Is the first month objective (mile marker) just beyond your reach? If not, break it down into an objective that will stretch you but not stress you.

4) Is your objective personally meaningful? Does it satisfy your purpose? If not, think how you can make it more meaningful to you.

5) Is your objective measurable? If you told a friend your objective, would they be able to know exactly if and when you have reached it? If not, make your objective so measurable that a complete stranger could keep you accountable to it.


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