Goal Setting & Attainment: 5 Secrets to Success

If you’re a competitive or professional athlete, you probably know a lot about goal setting (and achieving those goals). But if you’re not, I am going to share the life lessons I learned from a tremendous experience and privilege I had in my youth that set me on a path to successful goal setting and attainment.

I had the good fortune to participate in the Cumberland Valley High School football program under legendary head football coach Harry C. Chapman III. In the 1970’s and 80’s, Coach Chapman’s football program had an off-season workout component that would rival most 2019 major college football off-season conditioning programs.

The start of summer takes me back in time to the days spent taking part in Coach Chapman’s summer workout sessions with teammates in the CV gym and at the track.  And when I go back in time, I hear the same voice in my head that I heard 40 years ago, calling out his go-to words of encouragement…Fellas, get your weights!

The following quote, credited to former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, provides readers with insight into Coach Chapman’s off-season program philosophy “… I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on the field and be prepared to play a good game.” Coach Chapman’s off-season program emphasized the five following key goal-setting principles. Each one includes a “key takeaway” that you can use in your next goal setting exercise, whether that’s related to sports, business, a fight against cancer … or anything else in life.


Principal #1: Define Both Team and Individual Goals

Coach Chapman emphasized a team-first mentality, and the importance of individuals maximizing their athletic abilities for the betterment of the team. He would sit down with each player at the end of the school year and set specific strength, agility and conditioning exercise goals for their summer workout program.

Key takeaway #1: Have anyone responsible for achieving the desired goals participate in an exercise that sets both team and individual goals. This ensures buy-in, personal responsibility and accountability by all participants.


You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” – a Zig Ziglar favorite quote of close high school friend and teammate #85 Edward “Spike” Zionkofski

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Principal #2: Maintain Consistency and Dedication to Goals

Coach Chapman held morning and evening workout sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the summer. It was understood that players would attend one session a day. And the sessions weren’t easy: They began with a weight-lifting period–players recorded the weight and reps attempted for each exercise–followed by a circuit of timed agility exercise stations set up in the gymnasium. After the agility circuit, Coach Chapman would take the players to the track for stretching and a recorded distance and/or a speed workout.

Key takeaway #2: Have a regular routine that everyone follows. This ensures a consistent level of effort is directed toward achieving their goals over an extended period.


There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

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Principal #3: Establish Benchmark Testing and Reporting Procedures

Coach Chapman would test and record key exercises (e.g., half squats, single and five rep bench, 40 yard dash, mile run etc.) for all players throughout the summer. To motivate and inspire players, he would post charts on the walls listing all players and their personal best for each recorded exercise. He also recorded new personal bests in his highly-sought-after “blue ink.” These methods encouraged players to continually strive to receive “blue ink” and a “good effort” acknowledgement from Coach Chapman.

Key takeaway #3: Have a method of regularly monitoring and tracking your progress. This ensures that you are taking the right steps to achieve your goals. If you determine you are not on the right track, you can modify your strategy or plan to ensure you achieve the desired results.


“When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw

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Principal #4: Create a Culture That Fosters Competition and Teamwork

Coach Chapman used to get really fired up when he was testing/recording players, especially when a player was attempting a new personal best. His enthusiasm was contagious, and often resulted in a crowd of teammates gathering around to encourage the player to succeed. Call it motivation, fear of embarrassment, or a sense of pride, but you always felt compelled to give it your all; and more importantly, to not let your teammates down.

Key takeaway #4: Establish a positive and competitive environment that fosters peak individual performance and team unity. This ensures a “team first” mindset and mentality for any team, group or organization


“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

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Principal #5: Persevere, Persevere, Persevere

Coach Chapman’s football program emphasized the importance of perseverance in all activities, both on the football field and in the classroom. This phrasing–along with persistence, mental toughness, hard work and overcoming adversity–were commonly-repeated themes that you heard when you were in the presence of Coach Chapman.

Key takeaway #5: Have the physical and mental toughness, as well as intestinal fortitude, to overcome the challenges that occur in football, the classroom or in life. In summary, I have found that very little is given to us in life, and most successes are the result of hard work, persistence and perseverance.


“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”- John Wooden

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Coach Harry C. Chapman III’s goal-setting principles and coaching philosophy has had a positive impact throughout my life and for that I am truly grateful. I believe that Coach Chapman’s goal setting principles can be used by anyone to help ensure that they not only meet–but exceed–their desired life goals.


A special thanks to my close grade school friends and teammates #13 Harry C. “Four” Chapman IV and #72 Brian “Bull” Bullock for their contributions to the creation of this blog.

Coach Chapman - Goal Setting
Harry C. Chapman III
Former Head Football Coach
Cumberland Valley High School

I would also like to acknowledge the countless hours the early 1980’s CV Football Coaching Staff — Coach Harry Chapman, Coach Butch Bricker, Coach Bob Crobak, Coach Ron Audo, Coach Joe Correal, Coach Tom Uhrich and Coach Jim Hess — invested in teaching young men how to compete and conduct themselves both on and off the football field.

Thank You Coach Chapman!
#82 Frank Antonicelli

Can You Hear Me Now? The Mind-Body Connection

In a recent blog post, I referenced the phenomena of catchy phrase(s); the ones that become staples in pop culture and stick in our minds — sometimes for years. Well, there is a line from a cellular phone commercial that comes to mind. You know the one… Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good.

Can You Hear Me Now? Can Your Body?

So I’d like to provide you with a slightly different perspective on this famous Can you hear me now? line. To do this, I want to share with you another favorite inspirational quote that I found during my mother, Maxine’s, cancer battle. The quote is credited to Rhonda Byrne and goes like this:

Whatever you believe about your body, your cells believe too. They don’t question anything you think, feel, or believe. In fact, they hear every thought, feeling, and belief you have.”

Do you see where I’m going with this? This statement says that your body is always listening for clues from your brain as to how you are thinking, feeling or believing at that particular moment in time.

If your mind is filled with positive inputs or vibes… “This is no big deal”… “I can handle this”…”This is in my wheelhouse”…your body processes these thoughts or cues and reacts accordingly.

The same holds true if your mind is filled negative inputs or vibes….”This is a big problem”… “I don’t know if I can do this”….”I’m a-scared.” Can your body hear you now? You bet it can.

More About the Mind-Body Connection

To reinforce this point, I’d like to share the following additional quotes with you:

  • • Cogito ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” – Rene Descartes

  • • “As you think, so shall you become.” –  Bruce Lee

  • • “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – James Allen

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know by now that I’m a big believer in the power of the mind, and the impact that having a positive outlook on life can have on your health.

The first two quotes say to me that we are — and we become — a mosaic of what we think, feel and believe.  Can your body hear you now, Roger that.

The third quote by James Allen further validates that who we are (and what we will become) is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy of how our minds process thoughts, feelings and beliefs about past, present and anticipated future life experiences.

So Can your body hear you now? That’s a Big 10-4.

“There’s No Crying in Baseball”: Inspirational Quotes

Just about every popular movie has at least one famous line. (Think: You had me at “hello.”) But some movies have one-liners that are far and away above the rest. You know what I mean … it’s a phrase that not only jumps out at us when we first hear it, but becomes a staple in pop culture and sticks in our minds for years to come. There are so many of these types of inspirational quotes from our favorite films, and I know I’ve turned to more than a few in my times of need.

For this blog, I’m going to go back to the inspirational quote delivered by Tom Hanks in the 1992 baseball movie titled A League of Their Own.

“There’s No Crying in Baseball”

In the scene, one of the baseball players (Evelyn) is called out by the team manager (Jimmy), played by Tom Hanks, after she made an error that allowed the other team to tie the score. As Jimmy is expressing his displeasure with Evelyn’s fielding, she begins to tear up and then starts crying. Jimmy notices this and then says… Are you crying, are you crying…there’s no crying…there’s no crying in baseball.

I believe the point team manager Jimmy is trying to make to Evelyn and her teammates is that errors or mistakes, while not desired, are a part of the game of baseball. Nobody is perfect. What is important, however, is not the physical act of making an error but how the error came about and what the player can do to put themselves in a better position to successfully execute the play the next time the situation occurs. In other words, learning from your mistakes.

What We Can Learn From Inspirational Quotes Like These

This same philosophy can also be applied to a challenging time in your life — whether you’re confronting a major health issue, like cancer, or personal or professional challenge.

I like to use quotes by successful people to reinforce points I’m trying to emphasize so here are a few more of my favorite inspirational quotes on this topic:

  • • “It’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it that matters.” – Epictetus
  • • “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi
  • • “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz

 

Will each of us experience challenges, obstacles or setbacks from time to time in life? Of course, if you are living life to the fullest. The question becomes, “How will you respond when confronted with a difficult life experience?”

As I see it, we have two choices: you can waste valuable time and energy feeling sorry for yourself (i.e., pout about it), or you can pick yourself up off the floor and direct your efforts toward solving the problem (i.e., kick some a%#!).

Can you guess which one I recommend?

Life Is But a Cliché: A Motivational Poem

It’s time to lighten things up again with another fun blog post. For this one, I’m going to try and tell a motivational story using only familiar clichés. But here’s the catch: I can’t use Google Search to come up with the cliché — an impossible task for the Millennial generation 😉 — but I can use Google to verify that I am stating it correctly.

Okay, here goes.

Life Is But a Cliché

Life is short and 90% of life is just showing up
So early to bed, early to rise
Live one day at a time
Make the most of each day
And live each day like it’s your last.

Slow and steady wins the race
And gives you time to stop and smell the roses
But keep in mind that every rose has its thorns.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions
So when you come to a fork in the road, take it
Because the grass is always greener on the other side
And nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Remember, you get what you pay for and there’s no free lunch
So make hay while the sun shines
Because a penny saved is a penny earned
And a fool and his money are soon parted
So if you fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely
So speak truth to power
Because rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression.

The end justifies the means
So speak softly and carry a big stick
But don’t go off half-cocked.

Many a true word hath been spoken in jest
So have the last laugh
Because he who laughs last, laughs best.

Don’t judge a book by its cover
And actions speak louder than words
But also remember, failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.

We’re talkin’ about practice, not a game, not a game, practice
So when you finally get up to bat
Put your best foot forward
Just do your job and swing for the fences
Because you play to win the game
And second place is just the first loser.

If you love someone, set them free
If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.

All you need is love
So make love not war
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

How’s that for a cliché-filled list of life lessons?