Jeff Hopkins’ tips for goal setting

The A-League Women’s most successful coach, Jeff Hopkins outlines some of the tools he uses to map out success for him and his side and is sharing that with you as part of Melbourne Victory’s Health and Wellbeing program.

Goal setting is one of those tasks that feels like a chore but is a really important part of the process of achieving success and mapping your pathway to reaching your goals.

Visualisation is an important part of me and my team. If you don’t know what your goal looks like, it’s going to be harder for you to picture where you want to get to. This doesn’t mean it has to be something physical, it’s more about knowing what you want/where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

You also have to be motivated to achieve your goals. Motivation is a big part of whether you succeed or fail in your goal setting and is the first psychological hurdle in thinking through the plan and finding ways to navigate the possible challenges that may arise. There are three main factors of motivation that impact achieving your goals:

  • Motivation to change
  • Willingness to monitor the behaviour
  • Willpower to make it happen
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This is also linked to the most common process of setting goals, the SMART process. That is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and tangible.


When you make your goal specific, you set yourself up for success. Consider answering who, what, where, when, which and why when getting specific about your goal.


What benchmarks will you use to make sure you are moving forward? How will you know if you’re successful? How will you know if you need to make adjustments? Having a goal that you can measure will help you stay on track and reach any deadlines you set for yourself.


Is the goal you’re setting one you can reach? While you don’t want things to be easy, you also want to avoid setting goals out of your reach.


This goes along with attainable. Is your goal relevant to your life, and can you realistically achieve it, based on your current circumstances? This may be a goal you’ve set before and did not achieve because it was not realistic at the time. But now, under different circumstances, this goal may now be realistic.


For a goal to be realistic it also has to be grounded within a time frame, and it needs to be real or tangible.

These steps are important to map out your goals but it is also important to understand the ‘what’ and ‘how’ and ‘why’ which comes back to your motivation.

Tips and strategies to achieve your goals

Setting and working towards a goal requires more than just a piece of paper and a pencil. There are also certain skills you need to have in place when taking on a goal.

First and foremost, you need to be able to plan out the steps for reaching your goal. And once the plan is in place, it’s the commitment and focus that helps to move you towards the result you want. But, of course, somewhere in the middle, lies self-motivation and flexibility. Here are some other tips and strategies to help you reach your goals.

Here are my nine steps in achieving this

  • State your goals with a positive tone
  • Focus on the process, not the outcome
  • Make a contract with yourself
  • Clear out the old to make room for the new
  • Visualise what you want
  • Make a specific plan
  • Seek support where you can
  • Reward yourself when you reach important milestones

With all of this in mind, you now have some of the steps I use to help map out how we achieve success across the season. These tips can not only be used for football but also be implemented in your everyday life, whether that be in your workplace or in your personal life.

Jeff Hopkins - Head Coach of Melbourne Victory's A-League Women's team