Easy ways to keep yourself motivated towards your goals

Swimming for 17 years and counting, my passion for swimming is still going strong. There are times whereby people ask me “how do you still stay so motivated to train after so long?” So here are some things which keep me motivated to train everyday.

1) Always strive for improvement

Swim Finals_2015-06-011_Photo by Adrian Seetho-46

You can always strive to create the perfect moment in a race, but no matter how well you race, there will never be a perfect race. Lucky for me, my dad video tapes all my races and through watching my races, I will always look for the mistakes I made in the race and make sure I don’t make the same mistake in the next race again. It could be breathing the first stroke, sprinting too hard for the first 50m in a 400m race, or even pulling an extra stroke into the wall; these are the little things that will make a difference in a race. So every time after watching my videos after my race, it will motivate me to train harder again because there are always those little annoying mistakes that I make in the race which I would want to perfect in my next competition, and that keeps me going.

Look for the little mistakes you make in your best races and I’m sure you’ll be more motivated to train harder as you know that there is always room for improvement.


2) Picture your future self

I find this method most effective as you will always picture your future self as an awesome one after working hard, therefore that would motivate you to reach your goals. But I would like to emphasize that it’s not only picturing your future self, but writing it down as well. Don’t be afraid dream big, you may think that it sounds ridiculous to write it down, but trust me it will motivate you.

To give you a clearer idea on how it’s done, here’s what I did 6 months before the SEA Games (It’s a really simple one):


This is cupboard above my work space which is right in front of my bed, it writes “4:24” and “Be SORE today or SORRY tomorrow.” In case you’re unsure, 4:24 is the goal time that I was aiming for my 400m Individual Medley. Looks really simple, right?

So every morning when my alarm rings at 4:45am, I’ll sit up to see my goals, and that keeps me motivated to get out of my comfy bed to dive in the cold water at 5:30am.


True enough, SEA Games came and I managed to hit my goal time of 4:24, it felt really unreal, but it goes to show that writing your goals down really helps! 🙂

So start writing your goal down and paste it somewhere that is visible to you, and that will keep you motivated to work hard. Like I said, don’t be afraid to write it down, you’ll be amazed by the difference it can make.


3) Have an idol/inspiration

michael phelps

Ever since young, my idol has been Michael Phelps. I still remember replaying the videos from ALL his races from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games + his interviews. He won 8 gold medals there and therefore every race was exciting, and I really learnt a lot from listening to his thought process through for all his races. So every night, I would spend about 1 hour before bed just to re-watch his races so that I could learn from how he raced and thought. Trust me, that really motivated me to work hard as I really admired his work ethic as an athlete and that made me work hard as well.

I have no idea why I didn’t get bored from watching his videos, but I learnt different lessons from watching the same video everyday.


4) Compete against yourself

Swim Finals 4_2015-06-09_Photo by Adrian Seetho_041

“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than the day you were before.” 

The key to keeping yourself motivated is to strive to beat yourself, and beating your personal best, because that is something that we can control. We can’t control what our competitor does, so it’s best we focus on ourselves.

If you ever feel unmotivated to work one day, just know that even the simplest work out beats totally skipping a day of work. You may not be in your best shape but remember – It’s about being better than the day you were before, so just do your best and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment no matter what.

I have to admit, I have days whereby I just can’t move in the pool, everyone would win me no matter how hard I try, but for down days like these, I’ll always remind myself that even the worst workouts are better than not working out at all, so that keeps me going even on my lower days.

So always remember, it’s about self-improvement. As long as you compete against yourself, I’m sure that nothing can stop you from chasing your goals.

5) Hard work will pay off 

Swim Finals_2015-06-011_Photo by Adrian Seetho-52

A motto that I live by. Always remember that as long as we work hard towards our goals, it’s only a matter of time before we achieve them. So start believing in yourselves and work hard!

These are ways I use to keep myself motivated towards my goals, hope it helps you too!


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