3 Ways to Stick to Your Goals

By Will Murray | Jan. 06, 2020, 11:55 a.m. (ET)

notepad and exercise equipment

We're celebrating the third annual #DreamingSeason! A digital and social media-driven campaign that runs from Jan. 6-19, #DreamingSeason encourages both veteran and first-time triathletes alike to set their goals for 2020. Athletes are encouraged to comment on any USA Triathlon social media post related to #DreamingSeason on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #DreamingSeason, for a chance to win special prizes from USA Triathlon partners, including : 2XU, Amp Human, BOCO Gear, Hand & Stone, HotelPlanner.com, KT Tape, Pilates for Sports, Playtri, Retul, ROKA, TrainingPeaks and Wahoo Fitness.

By now you have probably set a few goals for your next multi-sport season. Setting goals for your fitness, lifestyle and racing provides direction and focus for your workouts. Setting goals is key, but sticking to your training program is how you achieve those goals.

Fortunately, there are a few techniques that can really help you pursue your goals and stick to them, day by day and workout by workout.  

1. Plan your day the night before, and schedule your workouts on your daily calendar. Doing this is like making an appointment with yourself, giving you a better chance to get your workouts done before life can get in the way. Many athletes get their first workout in first thing in the morning to make sure that they get it done. Also, laying out your workout clothes and gear the night before helps make sure that you are ready to go the next morning.

2. Bring someone with you to start your workouts, literally or in your imagination. You can do this by making an appointment with another athlete to go run, bike, swim or lift together. You are highly likely to go if someone is counting on you. It is good to have accountability, so when you don’t have someone to workout with, think of someone who you know has your best interest at heart, someone who is unfailingly on your side and someone who you would never, ever want to disappoint. Imagine what that person would say to encourage you to begin and finish your workout. Imagine a clear picture of that person, looking right at you and saying those encouraging things. Now go start your workout.

3. Just before your workout, place yourself into the future the day before your race. Imagine that you are organizing your gear and thinking about the race and ask yourself, “What do I want to be able to say about the workout on this day? That I’m glad I did it, or that I’m sorry I skipped it?” Now go back to your present time, right before the workout you have in front of you right now, and get it done.

These are but three techniques you can use as motivation to start and complete the workouts as prescribed in your training plan. How to follow the path toward achieving your goals is simple—day by day, workout by workout.

Will Murray is a USAT coach and the mental skills coach for www.d3multisport.com.  He is co-author with Craig Howie of The Four Pillars of Triathlon, Vital Mental Conditioning for Endurance Athletes and has a specialty in eliminating trauma.