Turning Olympic inspiration into perspiration: Now’s a great time to set and achieve goals

The 2012 Summer Olympics are upon us. It’s a time when the country comes together to watch and cheer for the athletes. It’s natural, too, to be inspired by their dedication to their sports, their talents and their competitive spirits. Watching these athletes can be motivating for each of us, whether in competitive sports or personal self-improvement.

Thinking about what you want is actually similar to how Olympic athletes achieve their goals. The philosophy is quite simple. Set a goal, make a plan to achieve it, work hard, follow your plan, allow for some setbacks, stay focused and you will succeed. It works.

Many children become inspired by the Olympics. Watching such event as swimming or gymnastics makes them desire the excitement of winning and cheering fans and also gives them role models to follow in pursuing athletic dreams. I remember tuning into the 1976 Olympic Games and watching Nadia Comaneci compete in gymnastics and score her perfect 10. My goal: to do a cartwheel. Although I wasn’t learning gymnastics at the time, I was convinced I could do it. Practicing in my basement — and after many bruises from running into furniture — I did it! 

The Olympics also teaches us the fundamentals of many sports. Even if we’re unaware and unknowledgeable about a sport, viewers enjoy an opportunity to learn. We become familiar with these impressive athletes as they swim, cycle, fence and row their way to the podium. Sports that are featured in the Olympics seem to have an increased following and participation.

It’s interesting how we relate to the athletes when we learn their stories. Often times we are inspired when we learn about an athlete’s personal journey to the Olympic Games. Many athletes have had to overcome hardships. The path to get to the Olympics isn’t easy. Stories give us an opportunity to relate to athletes as real people. They’ve had to overcome many of the same issues we have when trying to achieve our own fitness goals, including motivation, injuries and time restraints.

Inspiration can help us to identify and achieve our goals. They might be goals we’ve had for some time or maybe we’re inspired to create new ones. It could mean that you work a little harder in your exercise routine, lift a little more weight or run a little faster. Successful goals are very specific and measurable.  And there’s no feeling like successfully achieving YOUR goal.  Succeeding and winning doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work and dedication. One of my favorite quotes comes from college basketball coach Bobby Knight: “The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.”

Watching the Olympics doesn’t just inspire pride, it also inspires motivation. This is a time when we’re more motivated than ever to turn inspiration into action. The Olympics also inspires many of us to live healthier lifestyles.

Take the time to cheer for our athletes, but also think about your goals. What’s holding you back from being the best you can be? Jump off the couch and maybe try a cartwheel!