3 Steps to Define YOUR Success this season
How do you define success as you start this season?
There are many answers to choose from–Is it simply “to win” or improve in some way? Is it simply to “go faster”?
Your answer is important because it will define how you approach the season ahead. Everyone’s answer will be different.
IMPORTANT: Have a personal definition of what success will look like, from the small items to the big ones.
There are some DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to defining success:
Do: Establish your personal definition.
Don’t: Let someone else define success for you.
Allowing someone else to define what it means for you to be a “success” is the quickest way to become robbed of any sense of satisfaction or joy received from the many aspects of this great sport and can potentially leave one “burned out”, disillusioned, or worse…very depressed.
- Recognize there are different definitions.
Standards of success fall into two distinct categories—the world’s definition and the athlete’s definition of a success.
While world definitions of gold medals are exciting and lofty, and can be grand motivating tools, they cannot be the only standard for individual success. Why? Because the worldly standards are fickle, unforgiving and often quickly forgotten.
If not achieved, an athlete can be left with an empty sense of failure. If achieved, the world may remember only for a moment until “the next big thing” comes along.
REMEMBER: By setting personal definitions of success, and actually writing these down in a logbook, a competitor can refer back to their definition throughout the season. Having a personal definition allows an athlete to set their standard, learn from mistakes, and take joy from their personal accomplishments no matter how large or small they appear to outside observers.
- Establish personal measuring tools-write them down.
The best way to establish a firm foundation for personal success is to set a personal standard to measure accomplishment. This can be in the form of time, distance, skill work, etc. Work with coaches to establish a starting point and desired ending point for the season that defines success. Put it on paper. Writing it down at the beginning of the season forces swimmers to set parameters for improvement and hold themselves accountable for measuring their own improvement alongside their coaches. (see my post on how accountability increases your odds of achieving your goals by up to 95% here). Example: “I will kick out on every wall in practice–even warm-up.”
REMEMBER: Evaluate and measure progress at different times during the season both in practice and at meets.
- Track personal successes over time.
There are many outside achievement levels that allow competitors to measure their success against each other—ribbons, medals, trophies, plaques, championships, records, national team trips, etc. While these outside means of measuring success are a treasured part of competition —do not allow them to become the only measurements of success.
REMEMBER: The true measure of success is an internal understanding of personal progress. Each athlete can set their own standards and then track their success.
A logbook is the best tool to track personal success.
Example of success tracking:
- workout attendance, workout best times
- weight room accomplishments
- team spirit and positive attitude
- personal best times
- best splits
- best reaction off the blocks
- turns and finishes in competition, etc.
- and of course…blue ribbons and gold medals.
Be prepared for your own success by defining it, and tracking it. The confidence this brings will only add to your success throughout the journey.
So now what is your definition of success for this season?
(Article summarized from The Ultimate Swim Log and Goal Planner, copyright 2018)