The toughest thing about being successful is actually coming up with a plan—a.k.a. setting goals. Once your plan is set, it's all about following specific directions to get what you want out of your summer. Short-term goals will help you accomplish long-term goals. As you go through your athletic career, you will make adjustments to your plan. It will never be perfect, but you will have points of reference along the way.
Here are three ways to make sure you achieve your off-season goals.
One thing I did every day of every summer during my time at Penn State was to visualize my goals. This kept me motivated and focused. When your eyes are fixed on the prize, your priorities fall right into order. You have to ask yourself what you want to accomplish over the summer. Be honest, which is sometimes tough to do at any age, but especially when you're young.
Find Someone You Trust
One way to stay on track toward achieving your goals is to have a person you trust hold you accountable. I advise choosing someone who is not a parent, because you want to be reminded of goals, not scolded for immature decisions. Use a friend, teammate, counselor or one of your coaches. You want truthful and unbiased opinions, and your parents may be unable to provide them. Have your trusted person remind you of why you're training and what you hope to achieve. Have him or her ask you if you got better every day. My person was my brother. I talked with him every day on the phone, and he spent as many weekends as he could afford traveling to Penn State to spend time with me. I also had an academic adviser in the College of Communications who held me accountable academically. If my grades slipped, I got an email and/or a call. Both people kept me on point.
Keep Things in Balance
Now, this is not an easy thing to do. No matter what you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks and obstacles to overcome. I'm not saying don't have fun, because, trust me, I had my share of fun in the summertime; but make sure to keep your eyes on your summer goals and ultimate goals, whatever they may be. Sometimes as a young man or woman in the boring days of summer, your vision can appear far off. Don't let it drift away.
Photo: Eric Schwabel
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