Crush your New Year’s Resolutions with LASER!

January 01, 2019

Crush your New Year’s Resolutions with LASER!



Who wants 2019 to be the same as 2018?




Have you failed to follow through on your New Year’s Resolutions?


Have you sworn to lose weight, workout more, spend more time doing something you love?


Have you set goals to swim faster, bike further, or run more frequently?


There are fewer than 60 days until Maryland State Senior Swimming Championships! Or maybe you are shooting higher-still with only 545 days until US Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.


Most goals and resolutions that you set are BIG, grandiose goals that will make your life better. After all, you want this next year to be better than last year.


If you want to swim 1-second faster in your 100-meter Freestyle, why set your goals at just 1-second? If you miss, then you don’t meet your goal. Why not set your goal far higher? Like 10 times bigger!


What if you shoot for a 10-second faster 100-meter swim? Even if you come up short by half, you will beat the original goal by 5-times as much (5-seconds faster vs. 1-second faster).


The truth is that you might be limiting yourself by setting your goals too low. You could be selling yourself short and never reach your full potential.


Or maybe you are afraid that by making your goals higher that you are setting yourself up for failure. Remember, falling short by one-half still means swimming faster than your original goal.


So when it comes to setting your goals, GO BIG!


But the trouble with big goals is that they do not give you a daily action plan. If your a bit like me, you like to see your progress. Incrementally being able to mark your progress toward the larger goal can be a great way to stay motivated to reach the larger goal.


How do you get to the lofty goal that you have set?


Sir John Hargrave, in his book Mind Hacking: How to Change Your Mind for Good in 21 Days, has a great acronym to help you with your goal setting and attainment. He describes focusing your mind like a LASER!


And his idea amplifies your efforts to succeed in attaining your goals by developing successful habits!


Define a good subgoal using the acronym LASER: Limited, Achievable, Specific, Evaluated, and Repeatable.


LIMITED- Make a small subgoal that you can reach. A typical goal for a swimmer might be “To set a personal best in my 200 IM,” but a better limited subgoal might be “Work on perfecting my two hand touch on open turns” so that you are measurably faster during you IM race. The nice thing about this subgoal is that it limits you to focusing on one thing during your practice.


ACHIEVABLE- A small subgoal can be accomplished, and checked off when you have finished it on that day. Completing the small goal helps motivate you to make even more progress with your next subgoal. “Swim faster in my favorite event” is too large a goal is only achievable at the next meet. A better subgoal is “I will decrease my stroke count per pool length by one.” Small steps lead to great victories.


SPECIFIC- A vague goal only gives you a vague idea of how to achieve it. You must be specific about your next step to getting to your goal. Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic gold medalist, said that he always went to practice with a specific task that he would focus on. It could be as mundane as “Perform 5-dolphin kicks on each flip turn,” or “Make sure to touch with both hands on every open turn.” It was his attention to a specific, achievable, and limited goal in each swim practice that he emphasized as key to his success. (Chamblis, Mundanity of Excellence)


EVALUATED- Did you do what you aimed to do? If you write down your subgoals, you can check them off each time you complete it. If you can’t complete your subgoal, chances are you need to pass it through the LASER test, again, to get still more focused with your subgoal.


Some folks like to mark a calendar for each day that the goal is met. You link each consecutive day that you meet the subgoal. After seeing the “chain links” through several days, or weeks, you will be motivated to not “break” the chain.


REPEATABLE- While some subgoals might be one-shot deals (“Meet Michael Phelps,” “Earn a Sectional cut”), your best subgoals help you create a habit of success. “I will do 10 push-ups every time I brush my teeth” or “I will evaluate video of my swimming at the end of each week” are both goals that will build up positive momentum and build, strong positive habits.



What’s the next step? If you get stuck in trying to figure out how to get to your larger goal, just ask yourself that question. The answer is a step toward your next LASER-focused subgoal. Write it down and start working on it.


Michael Hyatt, in in his best selling book Your Best Year Ever, recommends writing out your goals on a daily basis to keep your mind focused on what you are working toward. It’s a simple way to keep your motivation high even when you are feeling stuck doing the boring, mundane tasks to reach your LASER-focused subgoals.


If you can’t make your subgoal, evaluate why you haven’t hit it. This can help you to see stumbling blocks to your progress, or point out that you need to break that subgoal into several smaller subgoals.


Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Henry Ford knew the value of LASER focusing his goals and built an iconic American brand along with Limited, Achievable, Specific, Evaluated, and Repeatable manufacturing that has been mimicked by every other manufacturing facility since he started the first moving assembly line.


Take a lesson from Sir John Hargrave, Rowdy Gaines, and Henry Ford and build yourself some LASER-focused New Year’s Resolutions!


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