Why you should set short-term goals

Swimmers can achieve more when they set small goals.

Swimmers can achieve more when they set small goals.

Most swimmers want to be the top athlete in their division or age group, or achieve a hard-to-reach personal record. While these long-term goals are important for a swimmer's overall progress, the time it can take to reach them may be discouraging. For this and the following reasons, you need to set short-term goals: 

  • They create momentum – You should think of a group of easy goals like a to-do list. Once you've finished one of the tasks, it's easy to move on to the next one. By the time the most important goal comes around, completing it will seem like just another simple task.
  • They help you re-evaluate the larger goal - What you want to be able to do several months from now may not be possible due to injury or another setback. On the other side of the coin, you may find that you've already reached your desired time. In that case, you'll have the opportunity to pursue even bigger dreams.
  • They instill accountability - With short-term goals you cannot blame your unwillingness to practice or work harder on a meet being far into the future. You must treat every practice and drill like an important event.
  • They require immediate action – While the big meet may be four months from now, you will still be going to almost daily practices in the meantime. This is the time to gradually increase your speed and strength by setting small benchmarks for your progress.

Before deciding which meets you want to enter next, or which swimsuits for racing you want to buy, consider figuring out your goals for today.