Keeping Progress and Motivation High in the New Year


In the New Year it’s important to take a look back but more so to move forward into the coming year.  What does 2015 hold?  To make it your best year yet, try these tips so your progress and success will last!

  1. Set goals

Try to create goals all the time. There are many benefits to goal setting.

  • Goals help to motivate you and your team to achieve excellence.
  • Goals can help to track your own success and your team’s throughout the season.
  • Goals help increase your confidence and athletic drive.
  • Goals help you and your team to recognize what you need to improve moving forward.

Set goals by asking yourself the following:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Who can help me accomplish my goals?
  • How will I accomplish my goals?
  • When do I want to accomplish my goals by?

Goal-setting tips:

  • Be very specific when setting your goals.
  • Set realistic goals that will challenge you but will be something you can accomplish with hard work.
  • Set timely goals – are your goals short-term (1 to 3 months) or long-term (3 to 6 months and beyond)?

An example of a short-term goal:

What: I want to stay relaxed during competitions so I can perform my absolute best.

Who: My coach and my teammates can help me accomplish this.

How: Taking deep breaths, listening to music before competition, taking breaks when I need to, talking to my coach or teammates when needed.

When: I want to practice this at my next competition in three weeks.

An example of a long-term goal:

What: I want to improve my current speed by the end of the season.

Who: My coach can help me as well as teammates and family members.

How: Work with my coach to make sure I am training hard at practice and on my own. Work with my coach to perform exercises and drills to help improve my speed. Record my speed to track my progress.

When: Increase my speed by the end of the season.

If you don’t have a competition or game to train for, that’s OK. You can work toward a certain date or month. Tell your friends, coach, and family what you are working toward.

  1. Nutrition

Continuing to eat healthy or starting to eat healthy is a very important part of keeping all your hard work up.

We know meal planning can be challenging, especially if you’re in a rush at the supermarket or don’t know which choices are the healthiest. Here’s a good three-step strategy: get organized, plan ahead and make a list.

  1. Physical Activity

It’s great to continue attending your weekly practices but don’t forget to keep up your physical activity outside of practice. This is extremely important so that you can keep up your fitness level and strength. When you are ready to train for competition again, you won’t need to start from the beginning.

We should all aim for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. There are lots of benefits from being active. Being active can:

  • improve your cardio
  • improve your strength
  • improve your flexibility
  • give you better posture and balance
  • give you higher self-esteem
  • give you stronger muscles and bones
  • reduce your stress
  • give you more energy
  • improve your time or performance in your sport

If you are practicing once a week with your team or club, what else can you do during the week to fit extra training in?

  • Join another team or club – Join another team or sport so you can fit in extra activity throughout the week.
  • Break up your workouts into 10- or 15-minute sessions – You don’t have to work out for 30 minutes straight; you can take 10 minutes to do a quick workout whenever you have a break during the day. Doing 10 minutes three times a day is all you need to get your 30 minutes!
  • Walk somewhere instead of taking the bus or driving – Walking is a great form of exercise that can be fit into your daily routine.
  • Get up in the morning 30 minutes earlier to do a jog, at-home training exercises or an extra sport workout.
  • Jog instead of walk – If you normally walk to practice, try jogging there to warm up. If you’re walking to a friend or family’s house, try jogging instead of walking.
  • Exercise while you’re watching television – If you are relaxing and watching TV, why not add in some strength or flexibility exercises?
  • Find a workout buddy – It is much easier to get motivated when you have a friend or family member with you. Find someone who also wants to be active and make a weekly schedule with him or her.
  • Schedule it – Make training a part of your schedule. Write down when you will be training each day. Make training like an appointment that cannot be missed. Making it a priority will help motivate you and will improve your health.
  • Write it down – Write down your weekly or monthly training goals. This will help you stick to your plan and track your progress. Share your goals with family, friends and your coaches.
  1. Have fun!

 The most important part of continuing your training as an athlete is to have fun. Choose activities and sports that you enjoy. Train or practice with friends or family and set fun goals that you can work towards. Try a new activity or sport that you’ve always wanted to try, get to know your teammates and coaches more, and limit any activities or sports that you don’t enjoy.

Use these tips to continue becoming the best athlete you can possibly be. Keeping up your activity, nutrition, goal setting and mental training will help make you more successful in the long run.

Based on Special Olympics British Columbia article: