2. Set difficult but realistic goals
Goals should be challenging and difficult, but realistic enough to achieve.
Setting your sights on making the Olympic team is not a realistic goal for most. But finishing in the top ten of a local sprint is. Don't set goals that are too easy though. Easy goals that take little or no effort to achieve often result in a misleading sense of satisfaction.
If you don't push yourself, you might never reach your potential. However, setting goals that are too difficult or unrealistic can lead to frustration, poor performance and lowered self-confidence and motivation.
3. Set long and short-term goals
Setting long and short-term goals is like climbing a ladder, there are steps that you must take to reach the top with each rung representing an objective that moves you along toward the top.
Achieving short-term goals along the way provides an athlete with more immediate and usable feedback, which makes the long-term goal more attainable. A long-term goal becomes the natural consequence of properly set and acted upon short-term goals. For example, setting a goal of swimming 100-yard repeats at a certain pace is a step to achieving your goal time for the swim leg in a triathlon.
4. Set performance goals
It's important to set goals based on your performance rather than that of others. You can only control how you train and prepare for your racing season.
Your competition's preparation and development are completely out of your hands. You may "lose" to a competitor in a race and set a personal best. But if your goal was to beat the competitor, then your personal best will not be seen for the accomplishment that it is.