The power of intentions in setting tennis goals

20 May 2020
#GOALS

What if I told you that setting goals alone might not work as well as you think? You know, during the lockdown ๐Ÿ”’ I've had time to think and experiment, and that's exactly what I found out. Goals without intentions are not gonna work out so well, if at all ๐Ÿ˜ณ.

I'm Elena Margaria ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป and just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can ๐Ÿฅ‡. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it. That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way ๐Ÿค“, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to ๐Ÿ”ฅ.

Look, I'm a big fan of setting goals and making plans to reach them ๐ŸŽฏ. And you should know it by now, if you've read any of my previous blogs on tennis goals. If not, go check them out ๐Ÿ‘€ before you go ahead so you understand how I feel about them! Just so you know which ones I'm talking about, here they are: My tennis goals and Tennis goals update - beginning of 2020.

Anyway... during the quarantine, I've felt a bit lost ๐Ÿ˜ฉ. My tennis plans were all of a sudden canceled and my short-term goals postponed to who knows when ๐Ÿค”. Like never before, I had no clues on where to find the motivation to keep putting my 100% in every single workout ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ. Not knowing when would be the next time I'd compete completely messed up with me.

And no wonder! When you rely solely on goals to keep your motivation going and your goals are wiped away ๐Ÿงน, what do you expect? To be super motivated? Of course not!

So I started questioning whether the problem were the goals I had set for myself, and no, that wasn't it ๐Ÿ˜•. I started digging more deeply โ›, and while digging I found out things of myself I didn't know. Like why I play tennis. Who I want to become. And what are my values.

And if you're wondering what all of this has to do with goals, just know that even I, at first, didn't get it ๐Ÿง. But then, a bit at a time, I started connecting the dots. Until it all made sense ๐ŸŒ€.

So here I am, sharing once again my discoveries and my experience with you, so you can decide for yourself if that's what you need as well! Just keep an open mind and experiment. For me, it worked wonders โœจ!

As always, if you wanna go straight to a specific topic, here's the Table of Contents ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป. Feel free to jump around!

What's the difference between goals and intentions?

๐ŸŽฏ A goal is what you want to do, what you aim at. It's the end result that you want to achieve. You can think of it (a long-term goal) like the destination of a journey. Or (a short-term goal) one of the stages you need to go through to get to your destination โ›ณ๏ธ.

๐Ÿ‘ค On the other hand, an intention is who you want to be or, actually, who you need to become to reach your goal. As a consequence, it's also what defines the actions you take and the choices you make to get to your goal. To keep using the metaphor of the journey, it's the way you want to travel, the spirit with which you want to undertake your journey ๐Ÿ‘ฃ.

So while a goal is something you set for the future ๐Ÿ”ฎ, an intention has to do with who you are or want to be at the present moment ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป. And that's exactly what makes intentions so much more powerful than goals! After all, isn't it much easier to wipe away something which is only a future projection of your mind ๐Ÿ’ญ, than your actual way of being and behaving โค๏ธ? Of course it is!

But that's not all! Since your intention dictates the actions and the choices you'll make along the way ๐Ÿ›ฃ, it also has the huge power to completely change the experience of reaching your goal, and the scope of your goal as well.

Don't quite understand what I mean? Let me give you an example using the journey metaphor โœˆ๏ธ.

๐Ÿ”บ Let's say you really want to visit Rome. You've always dreamt of moving there one day ๐Ÿก, and you want to be sure you'd be a good fit for the Roman culture.

๐Ÿ”บ Now let's imagine that I also really want to visit Rome. I'm a travel blogger ๐Ÿ“ธ and it's been on my bucket list for forever. Plus, let's be honest: how credible is a travel blogger who's never been to Rome?!

Even though we have the same goal, that is visiting Rome ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น, our intentions are very different. Yours is getting to live like a local and breathing the authentic atmosphere, mine is planting a pin on a map and gain credibility.

As a consequence, you'll probably do a lot of research on the neighborhoods that Romans like the most, make a list of the least touristic yet very typical restaurants ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ and maybe even try to get in touch with some locals just to get some advice on the best shortcuts to avoid traffic ๐Ÿšฆ. Needless to say, you'll also try to collect and save all your holidays to be able to spend at least 3 weeks there.

On the contrary, my research will be focused on the best Instagram spots ๐Ÿ“ and the trendiest experiences the city offers ๐ŸŽก. I'll try to pitch some hotels I like and offer them some advertisement in exchange for a free stay for a few days. Yes, I won't probably stay more than a long weekend, that should be more than enough to experience the best of the city and get a feeling of it!

You see? Same goal (on paper), but totally different actions and experience!

But let's get back to tennis and see why setting tennis goals is a must, but not always enough!

Why setting tennis goals?

As I've already mentioned, I love setting goals and making plans to reach them. In fact, it's no secret I'm a goal-driven person ๐ŸŽฏ, everybody knows it! So little warning here: yes I might be a bit biased on this topic ๐Ÿ˜…, but I really believe that without goals you're not going to accomplish much, both in tennis and life.

So let me tell you why I think setting goals is so important, especially in the context of tennis ๐ŸŽพ. Who knows, maybe looking at tennis goals through my own lens ๐Ÿ” will make you realize how much they could do for your tennis journey too, if only you'd give them the right importance!

๐Ÿ”ธ First of all, for me tennis goals are a way to measure progress. And I don't know about you, but one of the reasons why I love tennis so much is that it's a never ending learning process ๐Ÿค“. And what's the point of learning if you're never aware of how far you've already come and what's yet to improve?

๐Ÿ”ธ Second, setting goals for me means setting expectations. And as I don't like disappointing expectations (neither my own nor others'), I feel quite a lot of pressure and responsibility in fulfilling them. That makes me work twice as hard ๐Ÿ’ฆ.

๐Ÿ”ธ Third, having goals (especially short-term goals) makes all the work more enjoyable and less overwhelming. More enjoyable because it's harder to get discouraged when you constantly cross small goals off the list โœ๐Ÿป. Less overwhelming because I can just focus on my next baby step instead of the whole long way. And honestly, that's quite comforting ๐Ÿค—!

๐Ÿ”ธ Last but not least, setting goals helps me make plans and take action. It's true, goals don't define the actions I'll take (that's the intentions' job), but at least they get me started ๐ŸŽฌ. And getting started is usually the most difficult step to take, be it for the uncertainty of the outcome, fear of failure or whatever reason.

Yet goals alone can and will (likely) let you down, unless you combine them with intentions. Just think of what happened because of the Coronavirus: everything had to be paused, whether you wanted it or not ๐Ÿ˜. And all of a sudden, there was no way to act according to your plans and smash your goals. Pouf ๐Ÿ’จ!

So please, don't make my same mistake and rely solely on tennis goals. It's dangerous โ—๏ธ Instead, combine your tennis goals with intentions. It's a powerful and infallible mix, trust me ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป.

Why combining goal setting with intentions?

Tennis goals and intentions make an incredible duo. Even alone they're great, how to deny it! But together they make a spark ๐Ÿงจ. And here's why.

๐Ÿ”น Goals motivate you, intentions make you disciplined. In fact, when goals are wiped away, intentions make sure you don't throw in the towel, but keep your head down and work hard anyway.

๐Ÿ”น Goals set the destination and get you started, intentions ensure you don't get lost along the way and end up somewhere else.

๐Ÿ”น Achieving goals make you feel accomplished only right away, unless you set your intentions first. If you do, you'll feel satisfied and fulfilled for very long.

๐Ÿ”น Goals work wonderfully when everything goes according to plan, intentions help you overcome challenging moments by keeping you away from impulsive reactions and unwanted habits.

So there you have it, plenty of reasons to complement your tennis goals with intentions! I hope I convinced you ๐Ÿ˜œ. If not, I'll try again! You know I'm hard-headed, don't you?!

Actually, you know what?! Whether I convinced you or not about the importance of intentions, I know you're curious and want to know more about them ๐Ÿค“! So how about we do like this? In the next blog I'll delve into the topic even more and why not, maybe I'll even tell you the intentions I set for myself so you get some ideas on how to do it yourself! What do you think, sounds goodโ“

Talk to you soon! And remember, if you liked this post please leave me a clap ๐Ÿ‘ or write me a comment below. It doesn't cost you anything, but it would make my day ๐Ÿ’•.

Would you play tennis all day and night just to get better?

Then you're one of us! We're a community of passionate and motivated tennis players who work hard every day ๐Ÿ’ฆ to reach their goals, motivate each other ๐Ÿ”ฅ to keep going when things get tough and share their own experiences ๐Ÿ’ฌ so everybody can get better faster.

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