I don't believe in New Years Resolutions. On the other hand, I do believe that every big success begins with an expertly crafted plan. Starting the year off with a clear picture of where you are going and how to get there will help to reinforce new habits while they become part of your routine, and eventually part of your psyche as an athlete. On January 1st, instead of resolving to do a bunch of things that you'll forget about over the course of the next month, block out a few hours, sit down, and make a plan using the following four ideas:
1. Set Goals - Start by setting your goals for 2016 and beyond. This can be one of the most daunting parts of the process, because writing down your goals means that you might fail. Despite this, if you don't set goals that scare you, you'll never even begin to realize your potential, so dream big, keep them private if it scares you to share them, but write them down so that you know what you're planning for. For help setting functional goals, be sure to check out our Goal Setting Worksheet available on the Sailor Resources page under the "How To" section. It's never too early to start setting goals so think long term!
2. Plan ahead - Instead of setting a goal and hoping to achieve it, set a goal and PLAN to achieve it! Setting a detailed plan in place to achieve your goal is a super important part of the process of success because it provides you with a document to check in on every few weeks to see whether or not you are on track to achieve your goals. Your plan should focus on the granular details of how you are going to achieve your goals. What skills do you need to acquire? What drills will you need to do to develop those skills as quickly as possible? How much time will it take? Is that amount of time commitment realistic? If not, how can you make your training more effective? To help put together a bulletproof plan, and keep track of your progress in the new year, check out our Hours Tracker Template here.
3. Stick to the 70:30 Rule - As you put together your plan, it's important to keep the 70:30 rule in mind: at least 70% of your time on the water should be spent training, while 30% should be spent racing. Racing should be viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate and experiment with new techniques that you learn in practice, NOT a time to develop new skills. Color coding your plan (see step 2) can really help to visualize whether you're getting enough practice time!
4. Put In Hours Alone - While a lot of people believe that sailing against other boats leads to faster improvement, and this can sometimes pay out, in the long run, rising to the top requires hours to be spent on your own, putting in the hard work.
Wishing everyone a productive New Year!
- Willie out