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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Setting goals in sports

(Source: Dumb Little Man: Tips for Life)
(Hier klicken für die deutsche Version) 

We all make goals in our lives, but most are rough and general. For example, after school we may want to study, then possibly work in the technical industry, eventually marry and then have one or two children.

But in sports, especially for performance-oriented athletes, rough goals are useless.

So there are three important aspects to setting goals in sports.

Point 1. Set a specific goal

We need a very specific goal; e.g. make it on the podium in the club championship, or run 10 km under 45 min within the next 6 months, etc. Of course, the goal must be realistic. As much as I would like to be Olympic champion in decathlon, it will never happen.
Why such a specific goal? Imagine you shoot an arrow, but there is no target. Where should you shoot? Just in the air? No, of course not, that would be pointless. You would always pick a target and focus on it before letting your arrow fly.

That is because specific goals help us to stay focused.

(Source: Fast4Education)
The goal must also be something that motivates us.

When you set a goal, it's important that it motivates you: this means it is important to you and has value to reach it. If you have little interest in the result, chances of success are slim.

The roots of all motivation or inspiration that you have ever experienced in your entire life are goals. By setting yourself a goal, you give yourself a concrete endpoint that you aim for and look forward to. It gives you something to focus on and 100% of your effort to invest in that direction, and it's this concentration that drives motivation. And motivation is the key to achieving goals.

So, now we have Point 1: Set a specific goal to keep you focused and that motivates you.

Point 2. Express your goal

Make it public (it does not have to go in the newpaper) but tell your mom, your best friend, your training partner, or your coach.

Because that obligates you to fulfill it. It makes you responsible for it.

(Source: Lotus People)
This aspect has played a big role in my life.

I've been active in sports all my life, mostly team sport at school and college, and later a bit of running, but never more than 5km at a time to supplement my workout in the gym. But my whole life I had dreamed of running a marathon. Although, the idea of ​​running 42.2 km, possibly 4 hours without stopping, was unthinkable, impossible, never! But shortly after the birth of my fourth child, I talked to a friend and told her how I dreamed of running a marathon. But I did not think that would be possible. She looked at me in amazement and said I could even do it "if I trained well enough" (and she was less of a runner than me). She was right. Thousands of people run marathons every year. If they can do it, why not me? Since then, I have completed numerous marathons and even more ultramarathons. The longest nonstop was 100km in Switzerland. I ran almost 90 km with 5000 m over the Alps in 18 hours. I ran 257 km in a week through the Sahara with full equipment on my back… that’s 6 marathon in a week! I completed a marathon on a glacier at the Arctic Circle and last year I ran the highest marathon in the world, the Mount Everest Marathon, where I set a specific goal (to finish in the top 3 international women) and I made that goal public by telling my family. After 7 hours 39 minutes, I was not only in the top 3, but actually the first international woman to reach the finish line.

goals holly zimmermann boston marathon medals ultramarathon mom running everestIf I had not told my girlfriend 10 years ago my dream to run a marathon, this dream could still be just a dream.

So, Point 1. Set a specific goal. Point 2. Express your goal to others

Point 3. Follow through without compromise

If the training is not 100%, or you wake up on the day of the competition and you have a cold or a twinge in the knee, do NOT lower your standards. If you say, well, maybe not on the podium, but in the top 5. That'll be fine too. Do you know what will happen? You would certainly achieve your reduced goal as you were previously much higher focused ... and I would put money on it that you finish 5th and not better because you gave yourself permission not to do your best that day. But if you maintain your original goals and believe in them, then you probably will end up doing much better than you thought, maybe not landing in first place, but certainly not in 5th place. This is because your head controls your body a lot more than we think. We have a saying in ultramarathons. An ultra-marathon is 90% head game, and the remaining 10% is also head game. The head controls the entire body, and you have much more potential inside of yourself than you think, you just have to believe.
(Source: Pinterest)

So, to repeat: Point (1) Choose a specific goal to focus on and it should be something that motivates you; (2) Express your goal to commit to it (if only mentally committed); and (3) follow through without compromise to reach your highest potential.

... and with it you are sure to have continued success!

(This article was adapted from a recent speech that I gave at the Annual Sports Awards Night in Neustadt an der Donau)

goals holly zimmermann grossglockner marathon medals ultramarathon mom running everest
(Source: Sportograf)

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