Goal setting tips from a local athlete

In this article, My Academy’s director, Rachel Dreier, shares a story about how her husband overcame challenges to reach a big goal in 2019. She then provides tips on setting great goals for your own success.


My husband Glen works in the fitness industry. In the past he has always had a focus on body composition, which barely touches on any cardio work.  Then last year, his cousin challenged him to complete an Ironman 70.3, with the promise that he would travel from Austria to compete with him. The Ironman competition requires extraordinary levels of athleticism in running, swimming and cycling.


January came along and Glen could not maintain a run on a treadmill for longer than a minute, he could not get to the end of a 25m pool and he had never sat on a Time-Trial bike. The mountain seemed impossible to climb!


With the help of his wonderful coach, Glen broke down the three areas and set the milestones he needed to achieve his goal. Slowly but surely his running picked up, he was able to sit on a bike for more than five minutes without complaining and he reached the end of a 50m pool without needing a break halfway across! The milestones continued to be reached and the training continued to intensify.


Finally, last weekend I had the extreme privilege of watching my husband achieve this goal that he has worked a full year towards. He swam 1.9km in his best time ever, he rode 90km holding his record average pace and he ran 21km… and through all of it he smiled and enjoyed every second out on the course.  He had decided that any time under six hours would be acceptable – he completed the course in five hours 18 minutes.


His coach was thrilled, he was very happy and I was beside myself with joy!  To see him set this massive goal and achieve it with record times is just so inspirational. Now his sights are set on the 2020 circuit and achieving the top times for his age group.  Needless to say, yet more goals to achieve for next year!


Glen and Rachel’s top 5 tips for setting great goals:


  • Have a clear “Why” to start with. Why do you need to achieve this goal? Maybe your goal is competitive, like winning a place in a science competition, or maybe it is about personal development, like becoming fluent in a new language. What is the reason behind your goal? To improve yourself? To be the best? To beat your record? Your ‘Why’ should generate a feeling of inspiration and excitement when you think about it – that’s how you know it’s real!
  • From the “why” create a clear vision– something bold and bright that you really want. You might try writing a paragraph or two on what it looks like to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to become a great creative writer, describe in detail what this would look like – you easily and effortlessly coming up with great ideas, writing two or more pages, having a clear beginning, middle and end to your story, developing interesting and realistic characters.
  • Allocate a time frame to achieve this goal– a week, a month, a school year. Having a deadline is important to take a goal seriously! If you are in your last year of primary school next year, that is a great time to set some goals for what you want to know or be able to do by the time you start high school.
  • Break the goal down into achievable steps. In Glen’s example, he broke down targets for how far he could swim or how long he could stay on the bike, and he gradually increased those targets as he improved. If your goal is get 80% or above on an exam, work back and think about what you need to do in the months, weeks and days before the exam – you will want plenty of time to prepare and improve! Breaking the goal into achievable steps helps you see your progress and stay focused and hungry to achieve more.
  • Tell as many people as you can what your goal is– the more people you tell the more accountable you become. Glen told all his friends and family about his goal… and then had a whole cheer squad celebrating with him at the Ironman competition! Telling people that you want to get really good at your times tables will force you to practice… because they might test you when they see you! And they will definitely cheer for you when you achieve your goal.

The most important thing about goals is that you have to stay positive.  You will have bad days where you might not move forward, but tomorrow is another day to tackle that week’s target head on!


All the very best with your new year goals.

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