Ryan Harris fighting for the football.

The Goals I Made To Measure Success The Year We Won The Super Bowl

Goals are infectious in the best way possible.

When I was in college I put “22-year-old millionaire” on my screensaver. I read that every day for four years because that’s what I wanted to accomplish. That’s what I could accomplish.

When I started playing in the NFL, people asked me what I wanted to do afterward. I told them my goals were to save my money, make sure my kids can go to college, and retire.

What I’m getting at is this: Set Goals! Each time you complete a goal, it sets the stage for you to succeed in your next goal. Goals put you in a constant pursuit of something higher. You find that with goals, the pursuit actually becomes enjoyable.

TODAY I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU THE GOALS I MADE TO MEASURE SUCCESS THE YEAR I WENT TO THE SUPER BOWL.

After reading this article you’ll know:

  • The 3 TYPES of goals I made the year we went to the Super Bowl
  • My favorite pro-tips for setting championship-level goals

FIRST: PERSONAL GOALS

I knew my professional goals. I wanted to overcome my fears, fix my mistakes, and raise the trophy after winning the Super Bowl. But you can’t work on professional goals until you have personal goals.

Personal goals come first. No matter how tired I was from practice and no matter what type of game I had, I made the personal goal to be the best husband and father I could be. My kids didn’t care how practice went. My wife didn’t deserve any moodiness because of a game she did not play in.

Personal goals are fundamental because they create a base to live from every day. You can work on these goals regardless of wins or losses in your professional life. Personal goals become your foundation. They provide identity for you and those who interact with you.

What are your personal goals?

Can you listen better?

Can you call a relative to spread love and care?

Wake up earlier?

Now that you have them set, you can engage with your professional goals.

What skill can you develop? Sharpen?

Do you want to work in a job or a career?

What promotions are out there for you?

Take the time to write down your goals. Tell them to people in conversation. Ask questions that will help you be efficient with your time and effort. Take action!

EMPOWER YOUR AUDIENCE.
CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE.

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SECOND: SHORT-TERM GOALS

We were in a playoff game against the Steelers and determined to win. After the third down I had the opportunity to change my technique. I could do everything differently.

But in that ONE play, in that ONE moment, I had this ONE goal: maintain my technique no matter what.

No matter how bad I wanted to score.

No matter how bad I wanted to win my block.

I had ONE small goal: maintain technique.

I focused and stayed dialed into that goal. In doing so, I was able to create a lane for CJ Anderson (our running back) to punch through into the end zone. We scored to win the game. He and I were the first people in the entire stadium to know.

I use that story to illustrate a point: One short-term goal from an individual can contribute to the larger success of a team.

Short-term goals keep us in rhythm. They keep us on track to exceed expectations and prove others wrong. I made a lot of short-term goals the year I went to the Super Bowl. Some of those include:

  • To make the team
  • To earn a starting spot
  • To stay healthy all year

I could always return to my short-term goals if we lost a game. Win or lose, I could say to myself:

“I’m still healthy and I’m going to continue staying healthy all year.”

These goals keep us in continuous forward motion.

You will run into an obstacle on your way to success, but you’re moving forward because you have specific things you can work on, identify, and even celebrate in the midst of adversity.

This mindset keeps you impervious to failure. See how powerful setting short-term goals can be in your life?

Short-term goals also give you something to measure. You should think of short-term goals as expiring goals because they help you ascend to the next level. They take you to your higher goals. If my personal goal is to be the best father and husband I can be, I’m going to put down my phone at dinner. If my professional goal is to win the Super Bowl, I’m going to stay a few extra hours to study longer and prepare for the game.

I’m able to separate my goals into smaller goals and engage with each one. I’m going to be present in every goal and address it completely. That’s the power of having short-term goals.

THIRD: CRAZY GOALS

Five weeks before winning the Super Bowl, I made a goal to win the Super Bowl. I saw myself raising the trophy, and having that big, crazy goal made the moment more real. As history has shown, making it real made it attainable.

(RELATED: What’s Your Super Bowl? Time To Define Team Success)

Don’t be ridiculous with your crazy goals. Don’t say that you want to be a millionaire tomorrow.

DO be bold with your crazy goals. Even if they do not seem attainable at the moment. Do you want to retire at 45? Travel to Europe before age 30? What goal can you set right now, even if you might not believe in it right now?

Think about this: what does your life look like without goals? If you don’t set goals, somebody else will set their goal with you included in it. For better or for worse.

But why would you live life without goals? That’s like driving down the road without a destination — you’re just wasting gas. Know where you’re going.

Make the most of every opportunity by setting goals. Make the most of your LIFE by setting crazy goals.

A lot of my teammates told me I’d never become a 22-year-old millionaire. Sure, maybe not, but I’m still going to have that goal. I’m working towards it and scheduling my time to make it a possibility. It’s not hurting anybody.

PRO-TIPS TO IMPROVE GOAL SETTING

Pro-Tip #1: Sometimes you need to refocus your goals

The more games we won on the way to the Super Bowl, the more noise there was for tickets. People wanted to stay at the house. So I asked myself: does this fit within my goals?

When you encounter new situations due to success, you can easily rank their importance in your life by comparing them against your goals. Having somebody stay at my house for 5 days: does that help me win the Super Bowl? Does that help me be the best husband I can be?

This practice allows you to immediately prioritize situations and opportunities so they don’t hinder your goals.

Pro-Tip #2: Write down your goals

I’ve never completely failed every time I’ve written down goals.

I had to write down my goals when I was playing with the Kansas City Chiefs. I wrote: have a great camp, earn a starting spot, have a thousand yard rusher, and win the Super Bowl. Every single one of those goals happened except winning the Super Bowl.

Writing down your goals helps you achieve (at least) part of them. You’re also 10x more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. You can look back at those goals to help measure success.

Like I said before, what’s the harm in writing down a goal that may or may not happen? There’s a Harvard study that says 84% of people have no goals at all, so take a piece of paper right now and write down your goals.

Pro-Tip #3: Be as specific as you can

I had a very specific goal to win the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl had a date and time attached to it.  Can your goal include a date and time? Can your goal include a certain person? Be as specific as you can with your goals.

If you can, build in a reaction to future situations. How will you react to your goal? This makes your goal more realistic and, in turn, more attainable.

If you don’t make goals, you limit your ability to succeed. You limit your opportunities and you limit your life. If you can make a commitment to meet friends for dinner, you can make a commitment to meet your goals.