Andy Murray: A Lesson In Goal Setting

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I have been a big fan of Andy Murray since he first appeared on the circuit in 2006. There have not been many of his Grand Slam matches I haven't watched in the years that have followed. I have defended his abilities against the typical British skepticism through the days when a final seemed a distant goal, through the one sided US Open final of 2008 (another night robbed of sleep)  and on to the tears on Centre Court after a fourth final defeat in 2012. I never had any doubt that he would, one day, win a Grand Slam title.

This wasn't just misplaced loyalty and a desperate hope for a British hero in a sport I love, but something more human and admirable that we can all take a lesson from.

Andy has the rare quality of having a clear goal, asking the question, "what needs to happen to achieve that goal?", and then committing to whatever needs to be done.

As an 18 year old, I remember him cramping up at Wimbledon against David Nalbandian, and being completely outgunned by players stronger and fitter than him.

Goal: become the fittest player on tour.

Mentally, he frequently demonstrated fragility whilst the likes of Federer and Nadal would focus and play the big points better than anyone.

Goal: surround himself with the best team to ensure that his preparation was right for him and he had the inner belief to beat anyone.

He always had the pure tennis talent, no-one ever doubted that, but with his single minded pursuit of the above two goals has come a climb up the rankings until, with victory over the greatest player of all time, crucially over 5 sets, to win the Olympic title last year, came the belief that he was ready to win. A point emphatically proved a month later at Flushing Meadows.

Where now? World number 1 is within his grasp and many more Grand Slam titles. Motivation to perhaps beat Ivan Lendl's total of 8 Major Titles? What is sure is that the man is a winner, but a winner through planning and sheer hard work. Perhaps the best kind of winner.

We can all learn a lesson from this approach. Keep it simple, set your goals and commit to them. If it doesn't work at first then review, adjust and re-double your efforts. If a goal is worth having then the effort will make it all the sweeter once achieved.