Setting Goals to Stay Focused

“Every day you wake up and you have one goal, and that is to get better.” Derrick Rose

True elite athletes who reach their full potential must build physical skills and strength and work on their mental game despite adversity. Effectively using process goals allows an athlete’s mindset to focus on the execution rather than the outcome. This improves the ability to maintain focus and consistency despite the circumstances and external obstacles.

Process and Performance Goals

Process goals are categorized as either performance or mental goals. Both performance and mental goals are crucial to an athlete’s ability to attain consistent mental toughness.

Performance goals require the athlete’s attention to remain in the present, not regretting past mistakes or worrying about the future. An example includes giving 100% effort on every play. When the athlete is tired or frustrated, they repeat this goal in their mind consistently, “Give 100% right now!” This keeps their concern away for the next quarter, the next play, the next competition, or the previous shortcomings or failures.

Process goals achieve maximum effectiveness by channeling all mental focus into the present frame of mind and execution. Performance goals eliminate emotions from decision-making that can potentially weaken a positive mindset. No matter the adversity, a performance goal directs the reaction and plan for reaching optimal performance.

Mental goals also push the mindset to remain in the present. The most powerful mental goals are short, similar to an empowering slogan, and easily repeated. Examples of mental goals include something like “Go Hard” or “I deserve to win.” Staying in the moment creates a zone-like focus unaffected by over-anticipation or feelings of defeat. Both mental and performance goals are necessary for finding true mental toughness.

An athlete will never meet their full physical potential unless they develop their mental game as well as their athletic skills.

Process goals are systematically used to improve focus and create a positive mindset.

Goals are never reached unless you establish them and strive for their achievement.

Athletes who work out hard physically without establishing goals lack direction.

Without a goal, it makes overall mental toughness hard to achieve. The powerful mind provides stability for an athlete to overcome adversity, strive for greatness, and reach their full potential. An athlete who ignores the mind’s power weakens their ability to improve and succeed. Process goals are efficient tools for gaining a strong mental game and zone-like focus in your sport and life.


Write down all your goals for your sport on a sheet of paper.
Process goals consist of a mental goal and a performance goal.
Example for a Tennis Player –

Mental Game Performance Game
• Attack opponents’ forehand
• Stay composed after errors
• Visualize each serve
• Stay aggressive • High first-serve percentage
• Low unforced errors
• Take the ball early on the return serve
• Mix up shots

Break each goal down into process goals on a different sheet of paper.

Congratulations on taking steps to elevate your game!

All The Best!
Dr. Delice Coffey
Psychologist & Mental Game Coach

IG – instagram.com/drdcoffey FB- facebook.com/drdcoffey
Website – MindsetSportsPsychology.com
YouTube – YouTube.com/c/DrDeliceCoffey

Help Support Underserved Student-Athletes donate at XtremeBallers.com/Donate