Take authentic action every day to reach your goal. This means doing something concrete each and every day to help you progress toward the goal(s) you’ve set for yourself.
While a couple flips of the page can transport us to Hogwarts and the magical world of Harry Potter, magic doesn’t exist in our world. Things don’t just happen. We have to make things happen.
Wanting something to be true/wanting something to happen is quite different than helping to make sure that it is true or that it does.
In fact, I’d say that this right here is the source of the greatest disappointments that athletes experience in training and racing. Many times, without even realizing, athletes expect things to turn out a specific way. This is most true in races, but it can certainly be true in training as well. And sometimes, athletes are expecting things to turn out a certain way without being able to name what they’ve done to help make that expected result a tangible reality.
As an example, let’s take a time-based goal. When an athlete is new to racing, they often have a large margin of improvement, which means that time gains can be made “easily” and swiftly. The gains usually come just from the increased activity level and from being somewhat consistent in training. But as athletes continue on in sport, the Law of Diminishing Returns applies. There isn’t as much room to grow in terms of speed gains, which means that they become harder and harder to achieve.
This is disappointing and problematic for athletes who get used to getting a personal best time at every event that they do. The first time they experience a race where they are slower than they were in the past, they often feel quite frustrated. In the past, the gains they were making were “easy” and almost just “appeared” to happen. However, this wasn’t technically true. There were very real things that the athlete was doing to make those results occur, but it was simply that being newly active or increasing fitness activity was enough to elicit gains.
However, there comes an important time in every athlete’s life when simply being active isn’t enough to elicit time-based gains anymore. This means that the athlete needs to do specific, intentional, focused work in their training to make gains. This might come in the form of pace-based workouts, variations in workouts, increased training load, differing training intensities, increased recovery, improved nutrition, or strength/mobility work. But no matter what, something tangible needs to change in order to reach the goal.
This (a time-based athletic goal) is one example of how this may manifest, but it is just that - one example. There are an infinite number of examples of goals that we could set, and each and every one of those goals requires engagement on our part. By engagement, I mean that we need to mentally engage with our goals, and that we need to take real, concrete action to make them happen.
So, this week, I challenge you to get out of your own way, put your feelings about what you want to achieve in real words, and then come up with the real, actionable, concrete items/tasks (also in real words) that you need to do in order to give yourself the highest probability of success at reaching your goal.
If you don’t know what concrete things will yield you the highest probability of success, I encourage you to reach out to a coach who can help you identify what those things are. An experienced coach is going to be able to identify what would serve you best. (Just don’t be shocked when that coach tells you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. ;) )
Don’t just wish for things to happen or your goals to be realized, my friends. YOU have the power to MAKE them happen. Embrace this power, and DO it. Take a daily, actionable step to bring yourself closer to success. You can do this!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.