Lifestyle Health

Friday 20 April 2018

Put pen to paper to achieve your goals

Gerry Duffy

If you are already on your way to achieving your dreams and ambitions for 2014, read on. If you have already fallen short on your new year's commitments, read on too.

This week's recommendation is centred on goals. Richard L Evans once wrote: "Everyone who got to where he did, had to start where he was."

I would like to offer three very simple goal-achieving tips. For this, you will need a pen and paper as we have three things to write about.

Years ago, my brother suggested to me that "if it's not written down, either it didn't happen or it never will". In early 1999, for the first time ever, I wrote down a goal which had been on my radar for more than 20 years. In June of that year, I got there. The overriding difference compared to previous efforts was that I wrote my goal down on a sheet of paper.

If you haven't already done so for your 2014 ambitions, I suggest you do it today. Write down very specifically what it is you want to achieve.

Keep it visible. Hang it on the fridge, keep it in the car, carry it in your wallet or bag. By making copies and keeping it visible in a variety of areas, it will help sustain your commitment.

Secondly, write down who will help you get there. That's right. List all of the people who might assist you. Is it a running coach or a swim teacher? Is it your local running or triathlon club?

Now go deeper. I don't just mean in terms of physical help. Who do you need to surround yourself with? Perhaps the name of a friend who has or will inspire you should go down? Is it someone who will share the journey with you? Could reading someone's autobiography help you find a way to succeed? What is the book called? Write it down.

One of the people I have surrounded myself with in the past is Canadian runner Terry Fox. If you are unfamiliar, find him on YouTube by typing his name and the phrase 'espn' after it. That video has served as huge motivation to me.

Skill, inspiration and guidance are just a few of the ways in which others can help us. Back in 2010, while I was preparing for a big ambition, I wrote down the name of a professional ultra-runner, a nutritionist, a physio and Terry Fox amongst others. All of them helped me achieve that goal.

Write down finally what you will do if you hit a wall. Remember, it is not what happens to us if we hit an obstacle, what matters is what we do about it. Commit now on paper to refusing to accept defeat.

If an infant who is learning to walk falls over, what do they do? They immediately get up and try again. Learning to walk doesn't happen overnight and neither will our ambitions or goals. Write down: "If I fall, I will pick myself up, go again and just try harder. No excuses."

I heard a brilliant quote last week from Munster and Ireland rugby fly-half Ronan O'Gara. "In the face of adversity, some people break. Others break records."

Nice one ROG. Think I will put him on my list.

  • Gerry Duffy is a motivational speaker and endurance athlete.

Irish Independent

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