Motivational Monday: How to Set Goals in An Achievable Way (Example Included)


Motivational Monday: How to Set Goals in An Achievable Way (Example Included)

It’s the end of a long practice. I’m out of breath, my cheeks are red hot, and my arms feel like spaghetti noodles. I look at the clock to see I only have a few seconds until the next rep. Everything hurts, and it feels like the world is ending. In what I think are my dying moments, I hear my coach on the side of the pool: “When it gets hard, think of your goals!”

Goals. They’re one of the most important parts of being an athlete. Without goals, what do we look to for motivation? They keep us driven, encouraged, and moving forward. They can be small or large, short term or long term, simple or complex. Maybe you want to improve your nutrition, and your daily goal is to eat more protein. Or, you’re trying to qualify for a championship meet, and your goal is to make the time standard. A goal can even be so small as trying to hit an extra underwater kick off of each wall at practice. No matter what your goals are, there’s an underlying fact behind all of them: they’re the driving force that keep us showing up to the pool day after day.

For this reason, the ability to set goals is an extremely important aspect of being a swimmer. Goal-setting may be harder than it sounds. Often, having one large goal can be overwhelming. This will more than likely lead to the goal evaporating somewhere along the way.

In order to effectively set a goal, you also have to determine the steps necessary to reach it. Let’s look at an example:


Go sub-2:00 in the 200 free.


Put extra emphasis on the start, flip turns, and underwaters during practice.

Consistently swim sub-30 in pace 50s off the wall.

Make sure to get adequate sleep and nutrition.


Swim sub-2:05 in dual meets.

Swim 2:01 at midseason meet.

When you look at a goal as a series of steps, the goal seems more achievable. Creating checkpoints is also important, because it allows you to make sure you’re staying on track.

Another important facet of goal-setting is writing your goals down. Some athletes have a notebook where they write their goals down each morning. Others simply keep them written on a piece of paper somewhere, whether that be on a sticky note or in a journal. Even putting your goals in the Notes app on your phone can be useful. By moving your goals from your mind into words, you are more likely to stay committed to them. When your goals are written down, you can hold yourself accountable.

The final important piece of the goal-setting puzzle is keeping your goals visible. Your goals should be somewhere that you can see them. If you can’t see your goals, then why have them at all? Your goals can be your phone’s wallpaper. You can write them on your water bottle, or your practice equipment. You can keep a piece of paper with your goals written down next to your bed, so each morning and night you are reminded of them. Keeping your goals visible is one of the most important steps in setting and achieving them! By setting your goals the right way, you can set yourself up on the road to success.

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