In the last article of this series, I went over how to realize and create your goals. I hope you’ve taken that advice and are now coming into this article with an actual goal in mind! Now that you have your target marked out, let’s find out how you’re going to go about achieving it.
I touched last time on “what’s it worth” and sacrificing in order to accomplish your goal. This stage of goal setting is going to focus on finding out exactly what it’s going to take in order to succeed. Often times this will be a vague estimation, however you have to find out what has worked for others and what can work for you.
So let’s say you’re trying to learn how to make a fancy dinner so you can impress your new in-laws. First, you have to research what they like to eat, if they have food allergies or aversions such as vegetarianism. So you’ve found out that their niece is allergic to peanuts, the mother doesn’t like seafood and the family usually eats turkey and chicken.
The next step in completing your goals is research. You now have to take your goal and find out how to go about it. Research what has worked before, what other people do and if you’re able to find your own path. It makes sense that you have to know how to do something in order to do it, however researching a topic can prevent a lot of time and frustration compared to just jumping in feet first. When doing research, make sure to not just find a single source of information and to gather as much knowledge as possible. This prevents following bad advice, not getting results and failure to obtain your goal. For subjects that are hotly debated, such as eating schedules or routines for weight loss, make a decision based on what you can accommodate.
In the example above, this is finding a recipe for a dish and learning how to properly cook it. You can go to a site that rates and moderates their recipes and get reviews on tips and tweaks to the dish instead of some old crusty cookbook you found in the attic. If you wanted to be a higher Elo in League of Legends, you need to watch professional streams, read guides and find out what works. Listening to a single pro won’t really get you anywhere as their opinions wildly vary from “Just learn to last hit” to “pick a single character” to “learn a bunch of characters in your role”, etc. In this event, find what topics and points are hit on most often in the tips of advice and follow through on those.
So you know what you want and how to get it. You’re done, right? Well the fun’s just begun for you because the next part is practice and developing a routine. You now know what it’s going to take, so develop a game plan. How are you going to go about this? Will you practice every day, every other day or will you do practicing some days and evaluation other days? Developing a routine is essential to trick your brain’s programming into doing what you want it to do. If you develop a pattern of actions, the pain and discomfort of change go away. If you don’t set up a routine, working towards your goal will always be against the grain, which is the easiest way to allow yourself to give up.
You also want to develop exception policies or any other excuses you may have now and address them. Revisit the things you will have to sacrifice and strike them off one by one. Doing this before you start is critical because if you come across these issues while in the swing of things, they can throw you off. The human brain really likes things to be the same because it requires less energy. This is going to lead you to make sense of really stupid excuses and get behind them. Nip them in the bud and have something to tell yourself to stop the train of thought.
So if you’re looking to cook that great meal for your in-laws, get into the habit of cooking and preparing your own food. If you’ve never made the dish before, going on the fly isn’t the best way to approach it. Don’t give yourself excuses like “I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store today” or “I didn’t feel like cooking” or “I had to work late” or whatever it is. You knew you had to make this before you did it for them and now you’ve made excuses to do exactly not that.
Monitor Your Progress
A huge and often overlooked factor of goal setting and achievement is progress monitoring. If you’re not monitoring your progress, how can you possibly know if you’ve gotten from point A to point B? Sometimes it is done for you, in the case of ELO numbers being displayed. I can also be the desired outcome, as in the case of weight loss. Even in these casts, you have to monitor the pertinent data. Monitoring what is happening allows you to find the problem spots in what you’re doing and target them. It also gives you something to look back on, which can prove invaluable if and when you start doubting your goal.
Well your attempt at cooking round 1 resulted in the fire department getting called. Clearly improvement is needed! Alright, the second time it came out good except the chicken was dry and sauce was bland. The third time, you’ve gotten it pretty much where you want it, progress! This is pretty cut and dry here, however when working with more data points and fluctuation, monitoring progress is far more important.
So you want to gain some ranked Elo in League of Legends. You start grinding out games, and go on a great winning streak. Then you have your first loss in a while, not a problem. Then your second. Then your fifth. Then you have some wins and losses mixed together here and there and after a month of play you’re at a 50 ELO net increase. Well if you are monitoring your progress enough, you can how and why you won certain games instead of relying solely on the number ranking. Well, you are 48% win rate on jungle, which is your main role. This means that you’re losing more often than winning, marginally, and the other roles helped you increase Elo. So either improve your jungle play, focus on certain characters you do well with (70% win rate with Trundle and Udyr) instead of characters you feel are good (Lee Sin, Skarner) but can’t play. If you play all lanes equally, but have a 30% support win rate, your support needs work. Monitoring your progress allows this sort of analysis to push yourself towards your goal.
The easiest way to stay on track is to be accountable. While it is possible to do things in a vacuum, having someone or something holding you accountable is an excellent motivator. Tell your friends that you are trying to lose some weight and even the act of telling them will make yourself feel guilty eating bad things around them. Maybe they’ll even want to help you in your goal and you can get a great duo queue partner to level up with. Create a blog post on the internet, even if you keep it anonymous, or keep a journal or tell your significant other. Telling someone that you’re looking to change things will give you support to carry on, even if it’s to spite them.
One of my best friends is as avid a League of Legends fan as I am, however he can play a lot more often or at different hours. His strange work schedule put him on at times that I wasn’t available and neither were any of our other friends. Because of this, he primarily plays solo queue ranked games. After hundreds of games, he seemed stuck at a certain point, right around 1350. After that many games, going up or down in Elo takes a pretty big streak or a lot of games with an upward trend, so he had his work cut out for him.
At that point he sat down and really thought about what he could do to improve. He went around on reddit, solomid.net and listened to a lot of pro interviews. He started watching pro streams and matches between high ranking teams and got an idea of what had to be done. The professional knowledge and guide reading didn’t get him too far, though, because a lot of that stuff isn’t really clear information. So he started to look within and track the progress he had been making over several games.
After monitoring his progress he noticed a few trends in his gameplay. The first trend was that he was a main top laner with a negative win rate on top lane. He was around a 48% on top lane and only a 51% win rate on his main champion at the time, Nidalee. That means that over the 150 or so games he played as her, he’s only won 1.5 games more in Elo (+15 net). A 15 net Elo on a main character means you’re stabilized and have to increase your skill with them or switch because it’s not working at your skill level. He noticed that he was very positive with Cho’Gath and Jarvan on top, despite their lack of presence in the current meta.
The next trend he noticed was that his support role was at a 24% win rate, with over a quarter of his games played as support. You can’t always choose what role you get to play in ranked, so he found a big problem area here. Support is usually for the last pick, but he found himself giving the last pick a lane he wasn’t comfortable with and taking support for himself. Normally this is fine, but with such a low success rate on support, he was dooming himself most games.
He then noticed that when he lost two or more games in a row, he usually didn’t win again until the next day. This means that after losing a particularly bad game or trying set of games, he went on tilt mode. From here he did badly in games because he’d given up before the game even started.
The last trend he noticed is that over a period of his ranked games, he’d played 83 different characters. Nobody has a mastery or proficiency on 83 characters. This means he was picking characters that were flavor of the month and deemed “overpowered” with no actual idea on how to play them. This leads to losses.
So with all of these trends he’d noticed, he developed a solution. He stopped playing his main, Nidalee, because he felt he couldn’t impact a team enough to win most games. He switched into a new set of top laners that he did well on and understood, writing down a list of a few that he wanted to play. Then he made a 2 loss ranked limit and worked on his support in normal games. All in all, he shot up to the low 1600’s and has a new set of goals and challenges to overcome now.
Tune back in next time on how to continue setting goals and setting yourself up for success. If you have any goals you want help with, want to talk about them or have me keep you accountable, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org