Goal-Setting and Staying the Course from an Olympian

by: | October 19, 2016

Everyone struggles with motivation at some point in their career. As an Olympic athlete I am certainly not immune to these rough patches in motivation. Thanks to League, I have surrounded myself with diverse health pros who have taught me a few tips on keeping motivated.

To pass the knowledge on, I’ve written 5 simple tips you can try!

#1 – Have a Reason… and Write It Down!

When you first set a goal, know your reason! Having a sense of purpose will help you battle through the moments when you want to give up, and writing it down will serve as a concrete reminder about your ultimate end goal.

As an Olympic athlete my reason only comes every 4 years. This can be challenging at times, but in those dark moments during a very hard workout, I imagine the sense of fulfillment I’ll have proudly wearing my country’s flag on my chest, sprinting towards the finish line, battling for a medal. That reason is enough to remind me why I love my sport and why I will get through that tough workout no matter how badly I want to give up.

#2 – Break Your Big Goal into Smaller Goals

Sometimes large goals can be largely overwhelming. These goals may require longer-term commitments and can lead to loss of motivation as time goes on. If the time left to accomplish the goal is still months or years away, I would suggest breaking the big goal into smaller steps. This allows a sense of accomplishment as you take steps towards your goal and can keep you motivated.

When I finished my first Olympic games experience, I knew it was going to be hard to maintain motivation for the next 4 years. With my eye set on an Olympic medal, 4 years of work seemed very daunting. Fortunately my running coach and I were able to break up my enormous goal into smaller milestones that allowed me to see progress in my development and continue to encourage me.

#3 – Chart Your Progress

Tracking your progression is important! Keeping a log will allow you to see how far you’ve come. It can also keep you accountable by providing you a reason to complete a step towards your goal, knowing that you can write it in your log afterwards.

One thing to note: progression is not always linear day-to-day. However, over time, you’ll be able to see that even with a few bad days, your overall development is going forward.

I have logged every single day with every single workout since 2010. While it’s not required to be as regimented as me, I strongly suggest a goal log. Seeing the evolution of my training has allowed me to find both comfort and motivation during rough patches. Before races I can look back into my log and find confidence in how much I’ve endured, or during a time of injury I can look back and see times I’ve overcome obstacles. Discovering a way to find pride in your progress can be a large motivator, so give it a shot.

#4 – Surround Yourself With Green

This may seem a bit silly but some researchers have found that the colour green can boost motivation and creativity. In 2012 in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, a study stated that cyclists who were shown the colour green before a ride were less tired and more motivated. One researcher hypothesized that seeing green makes people think of growth and can motivate them to develop.

While I have no personal data to prove this statement, I do know how much better my body and mind feel during a workout done outside versus indoors. So get outdoors, look at a green piece of paper or look out the window, you may feel more motivated.

#5 – Find inspiration, every day

Feeling inspired can be a great motivator. Fortunately inspiration can be found everywhere. From quotes to YouTube videos, people you meet, blogs, friends and family, nature and the list goes on. Seek motivation each day and allow it drive you towards your goal.

Fortunately for me, a coach of mine emails me an inspirational quote for every day of the year. Some days I don’t connect with the quote but on the days I do, I find myself more motivated and highly invigorated. What’s your inspiration?


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