There are many attributes associated with success, but the one that stands out more to me then the rest is determination.
Determination is defined as “the act of deciding definitely or firmly” (so says Merriam-Webster). To me, I like the plain old urban definition “never giving up”.
This is very important to an athlete, like myself, because determination acts as the engine that keeps you moving throughout your training program and into competition. This, if done correctly, can produce results and just may surprise you with something that you never thought possible. To me, a realization of this happened this past weekend, when I was fortunate (or prepared enough) to break my first American Record.
Determination and goal setting go hand-in-hand. Without goals, there is nothing to be determined about and without determination, one would never achieve their goals. So here is how you get started:
First, set a goal and a realistic timeframe to get to your goal.
The goal should be something that you believe is possible, but will push you outside your current mental and/or physical limits. Goals are personal and should not be solely determined by someone else’s thoughts or actions. Also, make sure that you allow enough time to incrementally and safely reach that goal (a very important point regarding safety). Make sure you have a plan in place that includes details on training and practice (this point cannot be stressed enough as it is the one that most people do not spend enough time on).
Second, please commit to your goal and see it to completion.
No matter how long this takes. This is where determination and focus come into play. A lot of people can define goals and create a plan, but many stop there and never follow through.
Next you should define small points of success over your training cycle and celebrate them.
Yes, please make a big deal about this point as it serves as fuel to keep you moving towards your goal. Incremental improvements over time are sometimes more important then the goal itself.
Finally, continue to remind yourself that failure is part of the process and it will happen.
Realize this and quickly move on. This point is critical as a lot of people get discouraged with failure and dwell upon it for way too long (get over it please).
Please remember that all goals may not happen as you have designed them. If this were so, then everyone would be an elite athlete. Remember that “Strength is Relative” (says Nida, who you do not know, but I do) and you will achieve your goals if you are patient and never give up.