Goals inspire and motivate. Imagine how boring swimming would be if you had nothing to shoot for, but shooting for a target and achieving it are two very different things. To succeed, you must first believe that your objective is attainable; otherwise, it’s just wishful thinking. Others may doubt you or think that it’s well beyond your reach, but as long as you believe, anything is possible! I remember when I first started coaching, my dream was to become an Olympic coach. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I had a deep-seated belief in myself, and somehow knew it was possible if I was willing to work for it. Twenty-one years later, I traveled to Barcelona to coach at the 1992 Olympic Games! One thing I discovered was that to achieve anything worthwhile, you must have the belief to match whatever goal you set. My Olympic dream was a ten-out-of-ten, but so was my faith in myself, and that made it possible!
Pick a short-term swimming goal that matters to you, and score it out of 10 in terms of difficulty (10 ranks highest).
GOAL SCORE: ________________
Next, score how much you believe you can achieve your goal out of 10 (10 ranks highest).
Compare the two scores. If they match, your chances of success are excellent! If your belief score is lower than your goal score, you must find a way to improve it. To assist, I’ve compiled a list of simple strategies that can build the belief you lack:
• Demand more of yourself.
• Hang out with people with the same goals as you.
• Avoid people who make you feel inferior.
• Perform lunges every day to failure.
• Celebrate victories.
• Improve your technique.
• Accept compliments.
• Read belief-building books like 101 Winning Ways, Un-Limit Yourself, and Are You Worth It?
• Stop comparing yourself to others.
• Train with purpose and passion.
• Forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
• Stop trying to be perfect.
• Stop using belief-killing words like ”never,” ”can’t,” and ”won’t.”
• Relive belief-boosting moments from the past.
• Perform pull-ups every day to failure.
• Avoid put-downs.
• Visualize yourself achieving your goal.
• Watch belief-building movies like Rudy, Life of Pi, Peaceful Warrior, and The Pursuit of Happiness.
• Set smaller, more doable goals at first and grow from there.
• Talk to yourself in belief-building ways.
• Make your bedroom a recognition room – a place where you display all of your awards (trophies, medals, ribbons, and certificates).
• Perform daily affirmations.
• Work your hardest on the hardest sets.
• Eat smart, sleep well, stretch daily, and stress less.
• Perform dips every day to failure.
• Seize any opportunity that will advance you.
• Take risks in practice that will accelerate your progress.
• Turn off your negativity.
• Treat your swimming like gold.
• Believe that you can, even when others don’t.
• Forget your past if it doesn’t support your future.