4 Sure-Fire Steps to Achieve Your Goals

An idea is worthless unless you use it. – John Maxwell, Injoy, Inc.


ow is your life and your journey in the sport you love? Do you see a plateau? Is it stagnating, boring, going nowhere? Have you become obsessed with meeting those expectations by your coach, teammates, parents or trying to just survive and go with the flow until some miracle happens in the next competition? Are you having trouble maintaining your positive expectancy about life and/or your sport?

Too many of us are living this way and making a commitment to a sport without really doing enough. This has to change! When I was representing my country in Canoe Polo, we had to self-fund for any competition we took part in, this takes a toll in our energy and mindset. The Government won’t do it for us, nor will our family or friends. So what steps do we need to take to make it worth for us to carry on with the sport that brings us pleasure and pain?

The way to compete satisfying competitions is to simply dream up the things that we want to do and then make them happen. A simple statement but so few of us can put it into practice!

You can put it into practice if you take these steps NOW! First, find yourself a quiet, comfortable location where you will be free from disturbances. Ensure that you have paper and pen handy as you will need to write some things down. Yes, it’s all in the list. I guarantee that lists will work, that is if you conscientiously follow instructions and act on them religiously.

So what are the 4 sure-fire steps to achieve your goals?

Brainstorm Ideas

Now, let’s do some brainstorming. For the next ten to fifteen minutes, write down all the things you’d like to achieve. A few rules for this exercise are in order. Don’t evaluate as you write! For example, if you’d like to go beat a certain opponent in 6 months time – don’t stop and think whether you can achieve it. Just write it down. Evaluation can occur later. At this stage, write down all the things that you’d like to do assuming there was nothing that you couldn’t do.

Prioritise Ideas

When you have finished brainstorming, you will have a list of the things you would like to achieve – and hopefully it will be a long list! Your next step is to review your list and sort it into priority order. Again, do not evaluate any of these items as to feasibility, etc. while you are ranking them. At the top of a fresh sheet of paper, write the thing you would like to achieve most. Underneath that, write what you’d next like to achieve most. Continue doing this until you have sorted your list into order of most wanted to least want to achieve. Also, put beside each one when you would like to do it by.

Take a short break before proceeding to the next step.


Now, look at the top three items on your list and ask yourself the question: “What is stopping me from achieving these things? It will help to clarify things if you write down these reasons. For example, if your number one choice is to beat this particular opponent who is probably the best in your group, your reasons for not being able to do so could be:

  1. not fast enough;
  2. can’t afford world class equipment; and
  3. afraid I won’t be able to withstand tough training required to get me there.

You’ve got to remember that you are looking at the three things you’d like to achieve most! So you’re not going to let reasons like that stop you from doing them, are you? Now spend some time thinking about what you can do to overcome these reasons. Again, brainstorming without evaluation can help. Write down all the things that come to mind that could overcome these obstacles. You might write down things like:

  1. train my speed every 5 days of the week;
  2. cut back on personal expenditure to save the money so can afford it;
  3. get more information about how top athletes train to be in tip top condition;
  4. hire a coach to keep me motivated and push me when I’m lazy;
  5. sell anything not in use at home and use proceeds to pay for the equipment;
  6. think of side business so that I make more money; etc., etc.

Once you have a list of solutions (no matter how silly some may be), you can then evaluate them. Remember, sometimes it is the modification or extension of a silly idea that holds the solution. From this evaluation process, form a plan of how you could do what you most want to do.

Do a Plan of Action

Your final step in this process is to put your plan into action – and do it now! Don’t wait for a more opportune time – the best time is always NOW! Highly successful athletes live in the now, and mastering this habit can bring you many levels higher than before.

However, don’t let your big plans stop you from doing some of your smaller plans now. Pick a couple of goals you can achieve within the next month that won’t be too hard on yourself or unrealistic. ACT ON THEM! You will feel like a different person for having done so. Most importantly, you will learn more about your weaknesses and strengths that will be useful information when working towards your final goal.

If you have a problem with step 1 to come up with ideas, don’t forget that the best source of ideas is from your teammates, family and friends. Ask them what they think is a realistic goal for you. They may know what you are best at and what should be your target goal. You don’t have to agree totally but their ideas can be of fresh perspective to you to help you steer the right direction. Always aim for continuous and never-ending improvement in your performance and contribution to your sport.

With these steps, I wish you the best in achieving any legitimate goal you dream of.

Your Turn

Do these steps assist you towards understanding your goals and achieving them? What have you done to achieve some results in your sport? Discuss with us below:

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