More often than not, we fail to achieve ambitious goals, not because we are not driven or motivated. Quite the contrary, we work hard, but we lack the proper structure and process that will enable us to make meaningful changes in our training and performance. Setting realistic goals along the path is important as they help alleviate stress, adopt a growth mindset, find joy in the process and keep you committed to pursuing your dream.
1. Remove Stress
A bigger goal can feel scary and overwhelming, or downright unrealistic considering where you are in your performance currently. Instead of focusing and stressing about your end goal, try breaking it down into smaller steps. Goals that are SMART specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
When the times get rough, and you want to give up, achieving smaller goals will keep you focused and on track. Small wins will build your confidence and empower you to continue working hard. There is nothing like the taste of success when you set a goal and achieve it.
2. Reframe Your Mindset
Furthermore, setting subgoals will help you identify which habits, thoughts and actions need changing. Most of what we think we can achieve is a bunch of stories we tell ourselves. Tearing down any negative narratives will allow you to adopt a growth mindset. The mind and body are connected, and what goes on in your brain directly impacts performance in the water. No amount of physical training can overrule negative thinking.
3. Find Joy In The Process
The road to success is long and full of twists, turns and adversity. It’s essential to pause and accept where you are in the journey. Practice gratitude and notice all the small wins and wonderful things you accomplish each day. Look for them and appreciate them but stay hungry to want to achieve that ultimate goal. You will find new opportunities for improvement now that you’ve concentrated on goals that are within reach. Finding joy in the journey makes the process more sustainable over the long term and is the key to thriving under pressure.
4. Pursue Your Dream
All the little things you do in practice eventually add up and help you realize your dream. So it’s essential to leave no stone unturned. Aspiring to this level of growth in performance requires goals that allow you to track your progress.
Checking how you are progressing over time is an excellent motivator and a great way to visualize specific improvements. Evaluating progress will help you figure out where you started, where you are now, and how far you have to go. It lets you know you are doing something right and that training is paying off, which will undoubtedly increase your motivation to keep going.
Learn how swimmers use data to visualize their skill progression and stay motivated in their own improvement.