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New Year, New Goal

Chasing worthwhile goals requires dedication and patience

Chris Ritter | January 7, 2014

As a kid you may have heard, “don’t take such a big bite” during mealtime. And we’ve all heard the analogy of eating the elephant “one bite at a time.” The same philosophy holds true for reaching your goals this year. You may be excited to go out and accomplish a couple of big goals. And in all the excitement, you suddenly want to reach them all by the end of January, but that’s not really how you should approach the process or expect it to happen.

There’s a saying in the strength and conditioning realm that, “one workout can’t make you, but one workout can break you.”

Nobody likes being patient. Instant gratification is everywhere, and it makes its way into our training programs and goals. Many of you may find yourselves asking, “I did a workout today, so why haven’t I achieved my long-term goal yet? Where is the pay-off?”

Whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, we are all guilty of this attitude at one point or another. And this attitude is often most pervasive at the beginning of a new year, when we’re coming up with new goals and new commitments.

Temper your expectations and realize that your goals and the changes that you want to accomplish this year will probably take time. And if they don’t take much time to accomplish, ask yourself: Was that goal really challenging enough to begin with?

To get better at swimming, more so than in other sports, you have to learn to live with delayed gratification. You go to workouts over and over again working towards a goal. Often, it takes a long time to finally see some results and your hard work come to fruition. But when it does happen, it makes the journey all the more worthwhile.

And isn’t that what it’s really about in the first place? The journey and what you learn and experience while you’re chasing your goal? Don’t hurry your way through to the end.

I’m not saying don’t work hard and expect results to come to you. Instead, try to be consistent with your training and expectations and see what you experience on the way to your goal. Understand that it will probably take some time to get to the end point. And that’s ok. In fact, it’s confirmation that you’re chasing after something that’s really worthwhile.

If you want some encouragement or see first-hand what setting big goals and steadily training to accomplish them looks like, feel free to follow my journey in the coming year on my blog as I’ve set the most audacious goals of my life to chase after in the coming year. I’ve labeled my experience and journey, 3FOR30, and I’ll post updates on my progress throughout the coming year. My goal in this process is to not only hold myself accountable by letting others know about my goals and have an “inside” view of my training, but to hopefully inspire you to set some big goals for yourself and stretch to see if you can accomplish them.

 

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About the Author—Chris Ritter

Chris Ritter is the founder of RITTER Sports Performance online training programs and the author of the e-book, SURGE STRENGTH, which details how to strength train specifically for swimming performance. Ritter, a swimmer himself, has a degree in kinesiology and exercise science and he specializes in training athletes of diverse abilities, ranging from beginners to Olympians. Follow him on Twitter @RITTERSP or like his Facebook page for updates and training tips.

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