In all fields of life, including sport, those who set goals perform, on average 15% better than those who do not. This finding has been clearly supported by two eminent researchers in a recent review of 35 years of goal-setting research published in the American Psychologist (Locke & Latham, 2002).
This notion applies across a wide variety of tasks and settings. For example if two athletic twins in equal physical condition set out to perform as many sit-ups as possible, the twin thats sets a goal will do better 15% more sit-ups than the twin who tries to “do as many as possible”. If a squash team of numerous equal twins are divided into two groups and try to hit as many backhands as possible into a target area, the group which sets goals according to specific guidelines will hit 15% more targets.
What are these goal-setting guidelines? They can be summed up with the acronym “SAME”. Goals should be Specific, Achievable, Measureable, and Evaluated regularly to have maximum motivational effect.
So yes, you should make New Year’s resolutions to improve your life and your squash – you will be a better person and a better player!