How to stay on track with your goals (By Olivier Leroy)

Head Coach


Here’s something to think about on this chilly January morning…

(Seriously… it’s like icicle-finger season at my house this month…)

What are the guardrails you have for your swimming?

The things that keep you on track and focused on improvement and getting the most of yourself? 

The things that keep you on track with your goals?

I’ve found that my own guardrails have been more important than ever over the past ten months. 

With all the doubt, all the changes, all the uncertainty, my guardrails have provided a sense of control and stability in the face of who-knows-what-is-happening.

Here are some examples of guardrails:

Writing your goals out. Countless swimmers over the years have used this tried-and-true tactic: write out your goal(s) and place them in spots where they cannot be avoided. On your water bottle. On a post-it note dangling off the bottom of your computer monitor. On the background of your smartphone. On the inside of your sunglasses. An environment that has your goals plastered all over the place keeps you from drifting too much when things aren't going your way. 

A training journal. The workouts, the evaluations, the times and sets and yardage written out before them gives instant feedback. (Or as is the case for many land-locked swimmers: the dryland, the core work, the foam rolling...) The guardrail of the training journal helps you make course corrections when you catch yourself spinning.

Your support system. Coaches that are honest and constructive with feedback. (Helps if you chase and welcome constructive criticism.) Parents that remind you of your commitments and the values you want to embody. Friends that are supportive and aren’t coyly undermining your goals (“Come on, it’s just one workout!”). 

Journaling. Sitting down and trying to untangle the knots of uncertainty and stress in your mind on paper is a valuable exercise you should be doing whether or not you are in the pool. Writing out today’s anxieties and stresses, pool-related or no, can help give you perspective on them, and help you stay on track tomorrow. 

The guardrails help you stay on the road while you motor towards your goals.

They provide a check against our worst impulses and biases.

The right guardrails mean you aren’t competing with yourself when it comes to your choices:

  • Going to practice vs not going to practice.
  • Doing that dryland workout vs telling your coach that you did it at home.
  • Eating like a champion vs motor-boating three large pizzas and diving down a six-hour Netflix hole of shame.

What are your guardrails?

What are the things that help keep you on track with the things you want to do?

Think about them.

Create more of them.

See ya in the pool,


PS: The path to improvement requires the right mindset.

Pandemic or no pandemic, getting better means having the right set of behaviors, actions and mindset so that:

You are spending your days training engaged and focused

You have the right self-talk to push through adversity

You have a clear and confidence-building idea of what it takes for YOU to perform your best

Conquer the Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High-Performance Mindset will help you do that (and more).

Learn more below.