If you struggle with figuring out how to set goals for the new year, you’re not alone. New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. That’s because they usually involve things we don’t want to do. Setting goals that pertain to things you are passionate about, or a hobby you love, for example, is a lot more fun.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Goals? For fishing? I just fish for leisure.”
We get that, but look at it this way: Wouldn’t fishing be even more fun this year if you landed your personal-best bass? Wouldn’t you love to out-catch a particularly smug fishing companion? Achieving goals in 2023 will amp up your fishing game and boost your confidence.
If you Google “goal setting,” you could be on the internet all day. There are countless tips, templates, timelines and other tools for achieving goals.
However, your commitment to a goal matters far more than your approach. You can use a fancy software template or scrawl your plans on a cocktail napkin. Either way, the idea is to put something “in stone” that you can revisit often.
Fishing goals can range from broad (“fish more this year”) to specific (“beat my personal best for most fish caught in a single trip”). Both examples could use a little tweaking, but the point is that you have to start somewhere. All the experts agree that the first step to learning how to set goals that you’ll actually achieve is putting them in writing.
For most of us, setting a goal comes easily. It’s the strategy that’s the problem.
Take our previous example. “Fish more this year” is a noble goal, but you need more specific action steps:
Get off the couch.
Plan and book more charter trips.
Try fishing spots in Louisiana that you’ve never tried before.
Explore unfamiliar species of fish.
Get the family involved.
Thoroughly research your goal. Action steps will jump out as you do your homework. If you want to catch the state-record blue marlin, your strategy might look like this:
Learn to recognize a blue marlin.
Find out what the state record is.
Get the recommended equipment within your budget.
Practice with the equipment. For example, test the reel’s drag system. Know how much pressure you’ll need to land a feisty fish.
Weigh the pros and cons of traditional fighting chairs and stand-up fishing techniques.
Schedule a trip to the Gulf when water temperatures are in the 70- to 85-degree range.
Work out to strengthen core muscles, shoulders, hamstrings and quads. You’re going to need them.
Researching your goal will provide the action steps for achieving it.
Fishing goals don’t have to be grand, “impossible” dreams. Newcomers and seasoned locals have completely different goals. Any goal that will improve your knowledge, skill or enjoyment is worth pursuing. Here are some ideas depending on experience:
Join one of Louisiana’s many fishing clubs.
Advance to saltwater fishing.
Become an expert on local weather, water clarity, ocean currents, and daily tidal patterns that affect fishing.
Book trips to natural and manmade formations that attract species you’re interested in.
Inventory, organize, clean, repair or upgrade your equipment to be ready for anything.
Set a savings goal for trips or equipment that are currently out of reach.
Enter a Louisiana fishing tournament.
Watch the weather so that you can seize the day when it arrives.
Notice that there are both short-term goals (watch the weather) and long-term goals (become a local expert).
Goals that are too broad, too numerous, or too outlandish are hard to achieve. The SMART goal-setting model helps:
Change “become a better fisherman” to something like “catch a swordfish by improving my deep-dropping technique.”
Make sure your goal is something you can specifically measure. Instead of “catch more bass,” try “catch at least two bass per charter trip.”
If you’re an occasional, leisurely fisherman, you’re not likely to win a tournament in 2023. Your goal should inspire and challenge you. It shouldn’t frustrate you.
Is the payoff worth the effort? Is this a good time to try? Do you have the resources you need for success?
Whether short or long, put time limits on your goals: “Book with a charter boat captain by February 1,” “enter a Louisiana fishing tournament by 2024.”
Think of your SMART fishing goal as a compass to help you navigate and stay on course. With SMART goals in place, you can see where you started, measure how far you’ve come, and set your sights on desired results.
Speaking of desired results, our experienced captains are here to help you achieve your fishing goals. They don’t just know fishing — they know Louisiana fishing. Whether it's trying a new technique, beating your personal best or just catching more fish, our captains have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve your goals in 2023.
If you’re an angler with a goal, contact us today.
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