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TO TRANSFORM A DREAM INTO REALITY, YOU NEED TO CREATE SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, REALISTIC, PURSUITABLE AND TIMELY GOALS. Successful tennis players, once they have visualised their future, are able to turn their vision into reality by setting goals.

A goal, to be truly defined as such, must be specific, measurable, realistic, achievable and timed. These five characteristics are what distinguish a goal from a dream. When we think about, “I want to be ranked no. 10 on the ATP rankings, and win Wimbledon”, it can't work.

A specific goal, on the other hand, could be to improve daily accuracy in serve, for example, and play on the fly. It must concern the actions that are within our sphere of control (working on the accuracy of the serve) and not on the results (winning Wimbledon or becoming a top-10 ranked player on the ATP tour), because these also depend on external factors that we cannot influence, and we can’t control them.

Therefore, we risk entering into a stress and worry loop if we focus on the latter. At the same time these external factors create distractions and weaken us. If we reach personal goals that we set for ourselves, the results will come by themselves as a consequence.

A goal is measurable when we can actually measure and define what it takes to achieve it. An example of a measurable goal could be: “Every day I will practice the accuracy of the serve for 30 minutes and continue to do so until I can centre an area in one corner of the service square for 10 consecutive times”.

A goal must be, beyond measure, ambitious and stimulating enough to make us want to work for it, but at the same time it must be within our reach, otherwise we would end up discouraged: it must be realistic. On the other hand, when we talk about attaining a goal, we refer to the context of our life: if it is not possible to integrate the work necessary to reach the goal into our calendar, we should first take a step back and understand how to find the appropriate space.

Going back to the example above, if I can't find enough time in a day to train my serve... how can I ever think that improving them? Another important factor in visualising a goal is that we must reach it within a certain time frame, because if we do not define a deadline, we will never give ourselves the push to act urgently.

Deadlines make us productive. However, it is important to set daily and short-term goals, because the most effective way to achieve a great result is to break down the path into many smaller micro-stages, easier to complete.