Striving for peak performance can be an excellent way to fuel motivation, while also keeping you healthy, fit, and strong. It doesn’t matter what age you are; there are always ways to improve and challenge yourself.
Putting a goal on the calendar, like a running race, cycling trip, big hike, golf tournament, or kayaking adventure gives you something specific and concrete to build toward. There’s also something very satisfying about working toward a challenge and testing your abilities. If you can find a community to join with the same or similar goals, all the better.
As you decide the peak performance you’re going to strive for, here are five tips to consider that will help you get there—whatever your age.
Core to achieving any long-term goal is to chip away at your progress over time. Said another way, it’s important to be consistent. Baked into this idea is that you progressively improve over time, ramping up your effort over time.
For instance, if you’re looking to tackle a marathon, you start with running short and easy runs and work up to running longer and more challenging runs. This is an excellent way to avoid injury by not taking on too much, too soon. It’s also a great way to avoid becoming overwhelmed or burnt out.
Remember that building to a goal not only requires not only physical ability but also mental and emotional strength. It’s important to not overstress any of those systems too soon or too often.
Self-Belief and a Reason
Two critical components to reaching any goal are the belief that you can actually get there as well as a reason why you want to get there.
Self-belief helps build the determination to keep going when things get tough or when your goals may start to feel out of reach. It’s what keeps you putting one foot in front of the other when you may want to throw in the towel. Here again, working within a supportive community can help keep that self-belief strong.
Having a reason—your Why—to achieve your goal will also help bolster your motivation and enthusiasm to keep at the day-to-day training. It can also be a good motivator during times of challenge during your goal effort. Oftentimes, people will chose a Why that has to do with something or someone outside of themselves: children or other family members, a team, a cause, or the like.
Wherever you find your self-belief and whatever you decide for your Why, starting your journey with a strong sense of both will help provide a strong foundation.
Achieving a goal can be tough to go at alone. To help streamline the process, a professional service like a coach or trainer can be enormously helpful. These professionals take the guesswork out of what to do when, and they have the experience to help you work through the inevitable unforeseen challenges that will come up throughout the process.
Coaches and trainers also serve as de facto accountability partners, and they are certain to help inspire your ongoing motivation and self-belief. Many such professionals are often associated with larger groups or gyms, so can be a great way to get hooked up with a fitness community.
We hear it again and again, but it really can’t be overstated: sleep is a critical part of any improvement journey. When you are aiming to achieve something difficult, the process involves stressing your system and then recovering. It’s during that recovery time that the actual progress is gained. And the very most productive recovery time is during sleep.
Not only is sleep the time when we recover physically, but it’s also when we recover mentally and emotionally. Good sleep keeps the brain in good working order, so you can handle the additional stress and mental effort required to keep at the increased workload that comes with building up to a goal.
Achieving a meaningful goal takes time, and as such, it requires patience. Also, the path likely won’t be totally linear. You’re certain to experience ups and downs along the way. The body and mind aren’t robotic, after all.
Some days you may feel great and full of enthusiasm, and other days you may find yourself questioning the whole endeavor or feeling like you’re making no headway (or even regressing a bit: it happens!). You may experience an injury or life might throw you a curveball.
All along, it’s important to keep your eye on the end goal and know that, step by step and even after a few missteps, you will get there. Focus on what you can do today to get a little closer, and maintain the patience that will help you see it through to the end.
The Joy of Doing Something Difficult
There is deep joy to be found in doing something you previously may not have thought you could do. It’s powerful to be able to follow a progressive plan and see what new heights that allows you to achieve.
The road isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it so valuable and rewarding when you finally reach the finish.