Setting Goals


What makes a good goal?


  • Goals should be written, challenging, believable (by you), specific, measurable and usually have a specific deadline.
  • Not all goals must be lofty (sometimes easy to achieve goals are good ways to help you take steps to a more challenging goal).
  • Most swimming goals need to have a deadline, however, they can carry over from season to season and you can have on-going goals.


Long-Term vs. Short-Term Goals

  • Both long-term and short-term goals are important to have.
  • Long-term goals may be years down the line whereas a short-term goal may be the current week of training or the next swim meet.
  • It’s good to spread out the due dates of your goals (especially in swimming as the season progresses).
  • It’s okay to adjust your goals as you go.


Tips for Setting Your Goals

  • It’s okay to work on a number of goals all at once (takes pressure off of the challenging goals and sometimes smaller goals can be used along the way to promote self-confidence and help you get closer to the more difficult goals).
  • Break big pieces of goals into small steps
  • List relevant obstacles that may get in your way, discourage you or keep you from achieving your goal.  (Avoid discussion of your goals with naysayers, even if they are family).
  • Solicit encouragement from others you trust and respect to help you stay motivated to attain your goals.
  • Do not base your goals on what other people think.  In swimming, discuss your goal with your coach in order to make sure he/she is aware of it so they can train and motivate you to achieve that goal.
  • DON’T STOP!………..even if you get sidetracked or discouraged, do not stop!


What if I cannot complete my goal?

  • Do not get discouraged.  Recognize partial accomplishments because by striving for the goal you are improving yourself.
  • Use your personal support group to keep you on task and encouraged.
  • Internalize the lesson of perseverance.  Many amazing accomplishments in this world came from people who never gave up in spite of all odds against them.
  • Do not allow yourself to become the person that accomplishes 50% of a lot of things but 100% of nothing because you gave up.


How to deal with fear of failure

  • The only true failure is the failure to attempt or giving up without full effort. (i.e. In basketball, you do not make 100% of the shots you never take).
  • By trying but not succeeding, you still become a better person with more knowledge and experience than you ever had before, making you more prepared for the next goal you will attempt.
  • Missed deadlines, setbacks, unexpected challenges, changing priorities and feeling discouraged are not failures!  You only fail if you quit on your goal.


Getting stuck on one goal

  • Having more than one goal is a good idea because it increases your accomplishments.
  • Do not let one goal consume you, especially if it is a challenging one.  Break that goal down into smaller, more manageable parts to help you achieve it.
  • Focus on other goals and stay persistent with the goal you may feel stuck on.  Remember, missed deadlines are not failures …….. re-evaluate that goal and try again.


Rewards yourself

  • When you achieve a goal, it’s okay to enjoy it and appreciate that sense of accomplishment.
  • If you put a lot of hard work into achieving a goal, you better take the time to enjoy it before you move on to the next goal.
  • There is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself and using that pride to help you set new and more challenging goals in the future.
  • When you achieve a goal, you do not have to be satisfied, but you definitely should be happy.

*A good place online to help you organize your goals is .