Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
A couple weeks ago I got an email from a swimmer who was having a hard time figuring out where to start with her goals. With a new season coming up, and the fresh memories of a not-so-successful season last year burning in her mind, she was ready to move onwards and upwards.
With a clean slate, a new season, this young swimmer was ready to throw down.
But there was one problem.
I have big plans for the season, she wrote. There are things that I really want to do with my swimming but I don’t know where to start…
This sensation of having goals, but not seeing the path that it will take to get there is common. It’s a strange feeling when you are excited and amped for a new season, but also confused and a little lost with how best to proceed.
Here is what to do when you are ready to throw down on your swimming goals:
Plan backwards from where you want to be, to where you are now.
How many times have you caught yourself feeling overwhelmed from the magnitude of the work that is laid out in front of you? It can be humbling and discouraging to compare where you are today with where you dream to be.
Setting big goals is easy, it’s fun, and it’s relatively painless. It’s what comes next that stops most swimmers.
Take your goal and plot backwards along the competitions between now and then and set yourself some benchmarks so that you will know if you are on track or not. From there you can almost forget about the over-arching goal and focus only on the next step, which will make the overall process feel much more approachable.
Don’t put any thought into what others will think about your goals.
Sometimes we hold ourselves back on account of not wanting to step on someone else’s toes. Or we become antsy that our fellow swimmers will look down on our goals. Or that our peers will judge or even ridicule us for dreaming big.
The reality is that outside of those in your inner circle almost everyone won’t really be all that interested in your goals. Sounds a little harsh, but this is not a bad thing. You might get a flippant remark, a scoff, or a pat on the back, but for the most part don’t bother putting stock in what others may or may not think about your goals.
Track and measure your progress regularly.
What gets measured, gets managed. – Peter Drucker
There are a heap of reasons to measure and track your progress over the course of the season.
From seeing progress on paper, to feeding off the motivation from viewing your work to date, to being able to see patterns and habits in your training, nutrition and sleep schedules, and much more.
Having a detailed record of our performances, both in practice and competition, gives us the most accurate indication of whether or not we are on track to achieve our goals. You’ll be afforded a bird’s eye view of your training so that you can plug any areas that are leaking performance, while also feeding off of your victories.
Adopt the mindset of a professional.
One the striking differences between those swimmers that grace the top of the podium and those struggling to make the A-final is that the championship swimmer approaches their training like a pro would.
What does this entail exactly?
Having the mindset of a pro means that you are task-focused when you are at the pool. You take advantage of all of the training opportunities afforded to you. Doing it better then the swimmer in the next lane isn’t something you think about or daydream about, it is an attitude and commitment that you live by. And you are willing to not only talk a big game (or dream a big game), but to also put action to the talk on a consistent basis.
Simply because you aren’t happy with where you stand right now isn’t an excuse to avoid starting.
It’s comfortable and easy to fall into a pattern of wishing that we were further along than we are. If we were just a little further along the path we would be doing awesome, we tell ourselves.
- I need to get into better shape before I can really commit to my goals.
- I should get more information before I can dive into my goals.
These types of statements and thoughts leave you in a state where you are circling the beginning of your journey, perpetually flirting with starting, but not really getting anything of substance accomplished.
YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.
NEW: We now have motivational swimming posters. Five of ’em, actually.
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