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by Katherine Irwin

February 6, 2012

Keep moving forward with SMART goals

In the last issue of STREAMLINES, I wrote about starting the New Year off right with some SMART goals. As a reminder, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic and Time-based. By following this acronym when setting goals, you are setting yourself up for success. Many people tend to stop working on their resolutions after just a few months of hard work. This year, however, is going to be different. We are going to set effective goals that will be achieved!

So now that you have had some time to start working on your own goals, how have they been going? What have you been doing well? What has been challenging? It’s important to reflect on your goals as your strive to achieve them. There are times when we need to make a few adjustments along the way, so by checking on your own progress, you can monitor what needs to be done. Remember to keep a goal progress journal to assist you during this process. It is a rewarding experience to be able to go back and read about your journey. During this journey of working towards your long-term goal, you may encounter various roadblocks along the way.

How to Keep Moving Forward

One of the major roadblocks that you may encounter when goal setting is that you’re trying to embark down this path on your own. You may be embarrassed to share your goals with your coach, teammates, friends or family, so you keep them to yourself. It may be that you feel safer if no one else is involved. However, people who support you are crucial when making any type of change. They can offer encouragement, motivation and accountability. They can even help you out during grueling workouts or at meets.

Think about whom you want to include in your support system. Choose people who will be positive—you’ll need this positive reinforcement when things get tough. Also consider checking in with them on a regular basis so you can show them all the progress you’re making. By having someone to share your progress with, it will help you stay motivated to keep up the hard work in and out of the pool.

Another roadblock that many people encounter is that life inevitably gets in the way. How many times have you been cruising along with your goals and then something happens and it throws you off your path? Just the other day, I was hit with an awful cold that left me out of the pool for about a week and left my body feeling completely worn out. It was such a challenge to get back into the pool and make up for lost time.

To help ensure that you stay on track, think of some things that make it difficult to achieve your goals. Does your work schedule change regularly? Do you have children? A busy social life? There are countless things that can get in the way of making a change in your life.

Make a list of these challenges on the left side of a piece of paper. Then, adjacent to each challenge, on the right, make a list of things that will help you overcome them. For example, if you have “Sometimes I am too tired to get to practice after a full day at work” in the left column, you could put “I will go to morning practice, which will help me jump start my day” in the right column.

By creating a list, you will be better prepared to overcome the various challenges. Try to remember the reason why you set your goals. If this is something that is truly important to you, you should make it an important part of your daily routine.

Working on your goals may not always be the easiest journey, but the end results can be very rewarding. Instead of letting your goals fall to the wayside, be proactive about getting them accomplished. Have fun along the way and be sure to celebrate all of your successes!


  • Technique and Training


  • Goal Setting
  • Mental Training