For six weeks in 2021, the eyes of the world were on Tokyo. It started with the Olympic Games and then we watched the Paralympians give their all.

After years of preparation, the gold medals were within reach at last.

That’s what kept the athletes committed to their grueling training schedule while we were snuggled up in bed on icy mornings or lazing in front of Netflix on Saturday nights.

But focusing on a gold medal or any stretch goal is not enough on its own.

To achieve their goal, the athletes had to have a plan and stick to it. The plan tells them exactly what to do every day at the velodrome or in the pool or on the running track.

Time and again, you’ll hear sports people say that sticking to the plan is what gets them to the winner’s podium. The plan covers everything from the daily training and nutrition regime to their performance on the event day. Every day, it’s about focusing on the plan, not the outcome.

The importance of sticking to the plan.

Reaching any goal is the result of consistent practice, regular fine-tuning, constant improvement.

It’s what superpowers the performance and puts athletes on the podium. Mindset can help but only the performance itself can achieve the desired outcome.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear suggests that measuring our progress against a goal can actually be a hindrance because the outcome is still so far off.

He says to keep our eyes on the plan, not the prize.

Sticking to the plan feels doable.

By sticking to the plan, athletes can focus on what they have to DO each day.

  • Eat this, don’t eat that.
  • Lengthen your stroke.
  • Put on more pace as you turn the corner.
  • Ignore the competition and stick to the plan.

I like a plan.

I like to stick to what I can do and ignore what I can’t change.

Having a plan and sticking to it means I write more, and focus less on beating myself up for so far unachieved goals.

What’s your plan?

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash