Whether you are training for competition, to lose weight, or just to get fit, some of the basic principles remain the same for achieving success. Any worthwhile achievement is going to be challenging, and by preparing the journey in advance, you are giving yourself every opportunity to reach your goal and realize your dream. Here are 6 must-do tips if you have a desire to achieve success.

Get a goal:

Most of us have some kind of idea what we want to achieve. If you want to achieve success and make the most of the valuable time that you are spending training and practicing, you have to set your self a goal. Set a challenging and worthwhile goal that you can measure within a certain time frame. It will give you focus and drive to achieve success, as well as a great sense of satisfaction after the goal has been achieved. Good goals would include things like the following:

  • Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon
  • Lose 10kg of body fat in 20 weeks
  • Score an average of 3 points per game (hurling or Gaelic Football

Set time aside:

Its great to have goals and aspiration, and it is a starting point in any journey. However, if you want to achieve this goal, you need to set some time aside to regularly work on moving towards the goal. If you have dedicated time set aside each day to work towards your goal, you will be consistently moving towards it. I would recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many months/ weeks will it take to achieve this goal?
  • How many hours per week/ day can I set aside to work on achieving this goal?
  • Do I need to make more time per week available for practice?
  • If I need more time, how can I fit this into my current weekly schedule?

When you have answered the above questions, get your weekly calendar out, and book out the hours each week that you will be working on your goal.

The above schedule allows for 9 hours of dedicated time to working towards your goal. At first glace this may not look like a huge amount, and compared to a full time athlete or performer, 9 hours is not that much in the greater scheme of things. However, factors such as work, school, or college must also be considered for the amateur athlete. With the schedule above you are getting a mix of team training, gym training, and individual sessions that will allow for consistent progress.

Don’t go it alone:

If a goal is to be worthwhile, it must be a challenge. This means that achieving your goal will not be plain sailing. Things will go wrong, setbacks will happen, and sometimes you will think that you are moving in the wrong direction. However, if you have done the steps above, you have laid your plan, and it is important to stick to it. This is where friends, family, advisors, and training partners come in handy. When the chips are down, the advice and support that you will receive form those in your environment will be crucial. Having a training partner can be a great motivator, and will help you get out of bed or out of the house to get that practice session done, even if you don’t feel like doing it at first. Having people to talk to will help bring you through the tough times, and keep you going even when you think that you are pursuing a lost cause. Make your goals knows to those around you so they will support you all the way to the end.

Track progress:

This is a vital point. If you have given yourself a certain time frame to achieve a goal, make sure that you are measuring progress at regular intervals. For example, if you have given yourself 20 weeks to lose 10kg of bodyfat, then you should measure your progress every 3 weeks or so. 1.5kg of bodyfat loss in 3 weeks would be a good rate. Get your skinfolds done every 3 weeks, and you will know whether you are on track or not. If you are on track to hit your goal, keep doing what your doing. If you are not on track, you need to look at your training. Think of ways that you can monitor progress in your own quest to achieve your goal whatever it may be.

Reward progress:

When you achieve a landmark, or take a step in the right direction towards your goal, reward yourself in some way. If you complete the run or triathlon, reward yourself. If you lose 5 kg of body fat enroute to the 10kg bodyfat loss, reward yourself. If you get your target 2 litres of water per day in each day for a week, reward time. Make sure your rewards are satisfying and enjoyable. It will serve as a positive reinforcement, and as a bit of mental relief from the hard graft. Be careful that your reward does not undo all your good work however!

Enjoy the journey:

At the end of the day, our sporting, career, musical, fitness, and performance goals are things that we should get satisfaction and enjoyment out of. Enjoy the course that you have laid out for yourself, and have fun with practice and with the people around you. If things do not go your way, don’t fret. Sometimes you can try too hard, and relaxing and letting things happen is often the best way of achieving your goal. Trying too hard can cause tension and stress, none of which are beneficial! Remember the old proverb ‘Seek and you shall not find’ when you feel yourself getting too uptight about your goals and training. You have a good plan, and are moving consistently towards you goal. Keep it fun, and you will be on the right road!