Now that it is a little over a month since the New Year began, it is a great time to reassess the resolutions you wrote at the beginning of 2017 and to make an action plan for the goals you didn’t quite have the confidence to write on paper.


If sports has taught me anything, it is how to effectively set and achieve goals. It is certainly the most valuable and versatile skill I have developed to date.

The New Year is a great time to practise your goal-setting as it provides an opportunity to evaluate and reprioritize your life. In doing so, you assess what you want to change and what you want to do better—so that you can become the happiest, healthiest version of yourself. Often, this is how your New Year’s resolutions come about. This is also the first step in a four-step system, designed to help you achieve your goals.

Step 1: Desire Change

Crave a lifestyle change and make that your overarching Why—the why that controls your decision making and your actions. Do not lose sight of your Why. Draw from its strength when you feel defeated, rundown and exhausted. Use your Why as motivation to fuel your goals.

Step 2: Establish the Goal

Handwrite your goals and put them in places that you see everyday, like the bathroom mirror, your cellphone wallpaper, and the kitchen fridge. I call these locations goal zones.

Leading up to the Olympics, my three main goal zones were my laptop wallpaper, a mid-morning cellphone alarm, and the door and drawers in my bedroom. I couldn’t go one day without seeing my performance goals hundreds of times.

If you are having a hard time putting your goals into words, try making a dream chart. Use visuals to create a dream board with images of what you want your life to resemble. Use the dream board as inspiration to help you articulate your goals.

Step 3: Action Plan

Create a plan that will help you achieve your goals. In sports, we call it programming—the process of creating a plan to achieve a desired outcome. The action planning phase is most crucial in turning your goals into reality. Often, it is also the step that is overlooked when writing your New Year’s resolutions.

You live in an era of instant gratification, but that’s not how you achieve success. It’s easy to say you want change (like weight loss, or a promotion at work). But it is much harder to implement and follow through on the necessary changes to achieve your goals. A year is a long time and it will be easy to lose sight of your goals, especially if you have a long-term goal (like making the Olympic team or financing your first house). So let’s address ways to better accomplish those goals:

Step 3a: Set Micro Goals 

The best way to achieve your main goal is to break it down. Identify what you need to do to successfully achieve that goal. Write micro goals—smaller, more easily attainable goals that will help you achieve your main goal. I knew in order to run the Olympic qualifying time I would have to improve my short speed, so one of my micro goals was to improve my power output and force. One of the ways I worked on achieving that micro goal was to lift heavier weights in the gym.

Step 3b: Measure, Evaluate and Alter

To ensure you are on track to achieve your goals, it is important to pencil in benchmarks along the way to help measure your progress. In sports, these check-ins could be competitions. In the work force, they could be client satisfaction evaluations or financial assessments, for example. When you reach a benchmark, you evaluate the mark to either be successful or in need of improvement. If you evaluate the mark as successful, keep your micro goals the same or alter them to encourage further growth. If you evaluate the mark as unsuccessful, reflect on the appropriate changes and alter the micro goals accordingly.

Step 4: Persevere

Never give up. Continue to execute your action plan. You will be thrown off course along the way, but be tenacious and pursue opportunities that may lead to further success. Once you’ve identified your goal, you will be able to better identify which opportunities are fruitful and which are futile. Ultimately, living your goal comes down to the choices you make today that will benefit you tomorrow. Be patient and think big picture instead of instant gratification, and then watch as your goals become reality!

Think C-GAP (Change, Goal, Action, Persevere).