Almost every activity that someone engages in throughout his or her life can be benefitted from proper goal setting, both in and out of the water. Goals are a way for us to look into the future and think about what position we want to be in and what we want to have accomplished by that time. For example, in school if you wish to achieve a certain GPA, you must think about the necessary tasks and steps along the way in order to reach that score.
Because many swimmers want to be successful in their sport and get faster in their races, setting long term goals is a perfect way to help them get there. If you want to make a certain cut time for a meet or finish in a specific place at the end of the season, you must think about how you are going to do so before you actually reach the end goal. When doing this, remember four key things:
Keep Your Goals Realistic
This may be one of the hardest steps, as all swimmers dream of one day finishing first in a big championship meet or being chosen for a select team. However, it is important not to focus solely on where you may be in four years, but perhaps focus on the current season and where you can realistically finish. Identify your comfort zone, or an achievement level you are very confident you can attain, and look just past that into areas that are slightly outside of this zone.
Identify Steps Along the Way
The most important key to achievement is to be constantly striving to be better throughout the season. If your goal is to finish top 16 in your final championship meet, then identify the time necessary to do so, and keep this in mind when competing at meets throughout the season. What level do you want to be performing at in the middle of a season if you have a certain end goal? What small thing can you do in practice to help you achieve this success? All of these small tasks, though sometimes tedious to think about at the onset of your goal setting, will add up to a better end result.
Write Goals Down
Writing down all of the aspects of your goals and the small steps along the way will help you not only remember them but will also help you to shape a more concrete goal. This step will keep you honest, so try not to change your goals once you have them written down. In addition, making a list will help you to not forget the small steps along the way and will make it easier to review them.
Review Your Goals
If you have a written list of goals, it’s a good idea to keep this list somewhere you’ll notice it every day. If you set goals at the beginning of a season, you need to be thinking about them every time you practice or compete in order to achieve your end goal. This will help you remember them during your selected period of time and keep you motivated throughout. If your goals are constantly on your mind it makes achieving them far easier when you finally get your best opportunity to do so.