Ben Dijkstra takes us through his process of goal setting and how it keeps him motivated, especially during his injury troubles throughout 2018.
Setting goals is important to allow you to know what you are working towards and it can provide that bit of motivation if there are unexpected struggles with training.
Having a goal can also help you to set markers or targets which you can see if you have achieved along the way. It's like having a reminder of why you want to get up in the morning for training or go out if it is cold and dark outside – fortunately, as we get closer to summer, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem!
How to set goals
If you can imagine yourself in a scenario where you would have true happiness across your face - such as crossing a finish line to a new distance, setting a new personal best time or any other motivation you find – then this is usually a great place to start.
If you know where your end goal would like to be, then it makes the process of breaking down achieving this into smaller, more manageable steps. It’s important to note that your goals can always change, they are not fixed in stone. Some people will like to have a goal that is inflexible, but this is entirely down to the individual.
Setting goals can be a challenge, and sometimes people don’t know where to start. What can help reach your main goal is setting 'micro' or 'process' goals to help you along the way. Goal setting should also be a fun task and so should your journey to your main goal; make sure that you are excited to embark on this new journey as that is already half the battle done.
How you set goals can be done in many different ways and is down to personal preference but having something like a checklist, plan or map of what you’d like to achieve is a great way to start!
My goals for this year
My personal goals for this year primarily revolve around staying injury free, healthy and training consistently. In 2018 I suffered a significant injury which resulted in me missing almost the whole season. I was fortunate enough to squeeze in a couple races at the back end of the season which was definitely a positive!
With the Tokyo Olympics looming and selection still open, this is definitely something I will keep in the back of my mind while keeping the main goals for this season. The main aim is to get back to consistent racing at elite European Cup and World Cup level.
If the opportunity arises and I am fortunate enough to do so, I would love to make my debut in the WTS circuit at some point as this would be a great chance to work on my skills at the highest level of racing. I’d love to target a few World Cups in the season and hopefully end up on the podium for a couple, with the World U23 Championships in Lausanne also being the main focus for me this year in September.
How to keep goals challenging but realistic
Goals need to be able to provide constant stimulation and motivation for you to go the extra mile in appropriate training sessions. There is a fine line between knowing when and where the major leaps and bounds can be made in training, finding this balance can be key to your success.
A goal is there to be a challenge for yourself, potentially taking you to a place you haven’t been before. It shouldn’t be something that you are looking at achieving in the very near future, but rather a goal which should require a fair bit of time, commitment and dedication to succeed.
The difficulty of the goal should be down to how you can apply yourself to achieving it, ensuring that the balance between fun and focus is maintained throughout. At times, it may seem that your goal may be distant and hard to reach but with consistency – a key attribute in achieving goals – you will get closer and closer with every session banked.
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