I thought It was time to look at the process of achieving goals in sport (specifically swimming). It’s never the golden paved road we would like and always takes time and effort to get to our desired goal. So have a look at these 4 stages to success. You may be feeling these now or you may feel them later, but most of the time you will feel them all in the course of a season.
Stage 1: Wooohooo! WOOOO!
The first few days after setting yourself a super duper new goal or starting a new season/cycle, it’s like you are glowing. With dreams of achieving some insanely awesome swimming goals bouncing around under your cap and chlorinated hair you walk around as though you were on cloud nine.
Those first few days and weeks are a breeze at training. The pool is your oyster, and you have so much motivation and desire burning in your belly that completing workouts to their absolute limit is not a problem.
In fact, you may even find yourself wanting to go above and beyond at every opportunity you can, because nothing is going to stop you.
Stage 2: Well, this ain’t going to be easy.
After a few days or weeks the honeymoon inevitably ends.
It’s like you and your goals aren’t in the same place anymore. You don’t talk as much anymore. You’ve been growing apart, and it’s possible they might even want to see other people now.
Whatever the case, once the lustre of your goals have faded away, and the scope of the work that presented itself before you becomes fully apparent, you become overwhelmed. Discouraged.
Progress isn’t happening fast enough in the pool or the weight room, and you begin to wonder where that bottomless desire from a couple weeks ago went. Where once there was an unstoppable commitment and desire to train 28 hours per day (you were so amped that you were able to find the extra 4 hours, not sure how, but there it is) now you find yourself struggling to get to the pool.
You’re having a hard time focusing at the pool on days that you are tired – which seem to be more frequent – and find yourself having “I can’t be bothered” thoughts whenever those previously sparkling goals are brought up.
Stage 3: Embracing the horror.
Even though the results aren’t piling in, you stick to it. You summon the willpower to make it to the morning workouts. Push yourself by promising that you’ll complete just one more rep… And then another… And then another.
While teammates around you start racking up “no shows” on the attendance sheet, you plug along. Knowing that there will be a day that it all pays off.
You come to the realization that the road to success isn’t glitzy, it isn’t smooth, and it isn’t for everyone. But good golly Miss Molly you have decided that it’s for you.
You’ve embraced hard work.
Stage 4: Level Up!
This is the alpha, the omega…
Okay, not really, but this is the point where you have punched through the struggle, stayed true to your goals, and now emerge as a more physically fit and mentally tough athlete.
By this point you’ve adopted your new training habits, made excellence a priority, and are beginning to see the results.
You, sir or madame, have successfully leveled up.
A common mistake swimmers make is thinking that they can shoot from stage 1 to stage 4. Not a chance. Respect the process. Be willing to brave it. Have faith in it and your abilities. And then unleash hell on your goals!