How to Actually Achieve Your Goals in 2023

Chad Le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold medal in the 200m Butterfly Men Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 15th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

How to Actually Achieve Your Goals in 2023

Just a month into the new year and a new semester, there is still time to reflect on the past year, specifically the goals you may have set and reached. There is also time to determine what changes need to be made for the year ahead. In order to maximize your 2023 season, here are three things you can focus on: Developing smart goals, maximizing winter training sets and cross-training outside the pool.

When looking back at 2022, what were your goals? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to? If you did, great! Now, it is time to think even bigger. Aim for new time standards or the next set of cut times. Accomplishing your previous goals means you are on the right track and doing the right things to improve in the pool.

Now, let’s say you didn’t achieve your goals. Instead of looking at that as a failure, look at it as a learning opportunity and adjust your goals accordingly. For example, in 2022, one of my goals was to complete a Half Ironnman triathlon race during the summer. Training was going well up until I got injured and ultimately had to withdraw from the race. Instead of being hard on myself, considering the circumstances, I looked back on the solid training I had logged and the races I had done. I realized that I had challenged myself and tried something out of my comfort zone. That right there was a win, even if I didn’t get to the specific goal I had set. Goals are meant to change, as circumstances do all the time. 

Now, to accomplish those goals, you have to be willing to put in the hard work. This means grinding out the tough winter training doubles in the pool, as well as working hard to recover. Coaches know how important it is to amp up yardarge and throw difficult sets at you, especially in the winter and at the beginning of a new year. It is important to not only be able to work through these sets physically, but also mentally. After seeing a hard set, some swimmers immediately psych themselves out before it has even started, which sets them up to fail or not make the most of the set. Overcoming the mental hurdle starts with a good group of training partners and encouragement throughout the workout. It may also help to think about the outcome of how the set will prepare you to accomplish your goals and how completing it puts you one step closer.

In order to achieve your goals and be the best swimmer you can be, you have to go the extra mile. In my case, I have found that cross-training outside the pool has led me to my best results and fastest swims. Examples of this can be strength training, other forms of cardio, and even participating in other sports. My favorite cross-training methods are running and biking, because I am increasing my cardiovascular endurance in other ways than just swimming. Through this approach, I have been introduced to triathlon. By participating in other things outside the pool, I have had more fun training and I have been able to better myself doing things I like.

With 2023 already a month old, I hope you can take this advice and translate it into bettering yourself to accomplish new goals for yourself and the season.

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