New Years resolutions are a bit like fads. They come, they go, but they rarely make much of a dent in your actual life. 80% of resolutions fail by February and only 8% of people actually achieve them.
Not this year. Not you!
When setting goals, it’s crucial that they be very defined and methodical in your approach. If you want long-term success, be clear about what you want to accomplish. To help you succeed, use the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goal process.
Related: How To Set SMART Goals
Here are some tips to master this process!
1) Get Competitive
Make a measurable goal by participating in a competition like a swim meet or a triathlon. If you’re not into doing an official event, you can run your own test sets or time trial. An easy test set you can do on your own is a 20 minute continuous swim. See how far you can swim in 20 minutes. It will give you a benchmark of where you’re at and give you something to improve off of for the next one.
2) Ditch the “All or Nothing” Mentality
Instead of using your busy schedule as an excuse to say, “I don’t have time for that workout,” use the time crunch as a reason to perform a quick high-intensity workout. Do a short swim workout or run a dryland routine at home.
3) Reward Yourself
Once you hit a goal, do something nice for yourself. You earned it! For example, if you want to swim 1,000m in 20 minutes, your reward could be the Apple Watch you’ve been eyeing. Doing that extra swim workout is not punishment, look at is as an opportunity to feel great and escape the world through the water’s calming meditative effect on your body.
4) Mix Up Your Workouts
Doing the same thing over and over can feel boring and monotonous. It doesn’t have to be, and it shouldn’t be like that. Varying your swim workouts is a fantastic way to engage your entire body and develop a stronger feel of the water which will help you regardless of what your swimming goal is.
The MySwimPro App is a fantastic way to find new and creative workouts along with instructional video content.
5) Make Changes Slowly
Instead of trying to go from zero to 5,000 meters on day #1, work on mastering one small workout at a time over the course of a few weeks. Once you feel like you have a routine down, start to increase your volume and intensity. If you swim just 500 meters on your first swim back, that’s 500 meters more than you did the week before!
6) Strive For Quality, Not Quantity
The most effective swim workouts are designed to maximize your time spent swimming at a high rate of speed under the best stroke technique possible. Impeccable form yields the fastest rate of improvement. Make technique your first priority in the pool!
7) Warm Up
Don’t skip a proper warmup. It makes your workout much more efficient and feel easier. It allows you to push yourself harder because your entire body’s musculature and energy systems have been properly engaged.
8) Have a Training Buddy
Training with another person makes the entire journey much more fun and beneficial. If you don’t have a training buddy, find a local masters swim team. It makes swimming a much more enjoyable experience.
9) Have An Accountability Partner
This can be the same person as your training partner. If not, ask your best friend, significant other or family member to help keep you accountable and cheer you on during your swimming journey. Pick someone who already sees swimming as a top priority.
10) Visualize Your Success
Whether you’re at the pool, or just trying to muster the motivation to get to the pool, employ visualization techniques. See and feel yourself achieving your goal – it feels great – then go after it!
11) Get More Sleep
Yes, this is really a goal. Measure it. Getting the proper amount of sleep keeps you energized so you can crush your workouts in the pool. Recovery happens at night, so make sure you give your body a chance to recover between training sessions.
12) Be Patient
Progress, both in performance and fitness takes time. Be patient with yourself and have trust in the process. Consistency is a key driver in achieving any goal.
13) Increase Your Mobility
If you have not made foam rolling and stretching part of your routine, then it’s time to start. Foam roll before every workout and stretch after. Dynamic Range of motion comes before physical activity, and static stretching comes after. Bonus points if you do this on a rest day!
Related: Why You Should Do A Dynamic Warmup Before Every Swim Workout
14) Don’t Seat The Small Stuff
Every Once in a while, you’ll miss a workout or feel off in the water. You’re not going to feel like superman everyday, and that’s ok. Don’t let it trip you up. Just accept it, and attack the next one!
15) Be Positive
Instead of focusing on what could deviate you from your goals, focus on the opportunity you have to be successful. The mind controls the body, and the mind is unlimited.
16) Track Your Workouts
Tracking your workout makes you more likely to stick with your goal and will eliminate time spent guessing how much you’re doing and if you’re making progress. Knowing how far you’ve come and having a community behind you can make all the difference in achieving your goals!
Related: Why You Should Log Every Workout
17) Have Fun!
Swimming is fun – however you define “fun”. Remember you have an incredible opportunity to participate in something that brings health and wellness to your life. Enjoy every moment of it, and don’t forget to enjoy the process.