As the calendar flips to a new year, many endurance athletes set ambitious resolutions to elevate their performance and achieve remarkable feats in the coming months. Often, mindset strategies aren’t part of the resolution strategy.
However, statistics show that the majority of New Year resolutions, especially in the realm of endurance sports, often fall by the wayside.
In this blog post, I’m going to share some of the reasons behind the high failure rate and introduce a few mindset strategies that can help empower endurance athletes to conquer their goals in 2024.
The New Year Resolution Problem:
I’ve never been a big believer in New Year Resolutions. I think that the creation of a no limits mindset is a process that is ongoing over time and experience. Resolutions, to me, feel like a one-shot attempt at a specific goal that may or may not be reached. I would rather put effort into ongoing growth and work towards overall success. Yes, I do have specific goals in mind when I’m training for an event, but I feel that’s very different than a resolution.
According to studies, approximately 80% of resolutions are abandoned by mid-February, which leaves many athletes feeling disheartened and demotivated. There are a number of different reasons for this. We (endurance athletes) know that endurance sports have unique demands and challenges. They require different approaches that don’t necessarily work with traditional resolution-setting methods. The work towards a goal of winning Race Across America for instance, begins many ears prior to the specific event.
Statistics also reveal that goals that are too broad or unrealistic contribute hugely to the failure of New Year resolutions. Endurance athletes often set objectives like “run more miles” or “improve speed,” without a concrete plan or understanding of the underlying factors influencing their performance.
Mindset Strategies for Endurance Athletes:
Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) Goals: Endurance athletes should replace vague resolutions with SMART goals tailored to their individual capabilities. For example, setting a goal like “Complete a half-marathon in under 2 hours by May 2024” provides a clear roadmap for progress and success.
Focus on Process, Not Just Outcome: Rather than fixating solely on end results, shift the focus to the daily processes that lead to success. This could include consistent training, proper nutrition, and sufficient recovery. Embracing the journey allows athletes to appreciate the incremental improvements that contribute to long-term success.
Implement Periodization: Understanding the importance of periodization in training is crucial for endurance athletes. Periodization involves breaking down the training season into distinct phases, each with specific objectives. This structured approach helps prevent burnout, reduce the risk of injuries, and enhances overall performance.
Embrace a Growth Mindset: Cultivate a growth mindset by viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and development. Rather than seeing setbacks as failures, consider them as valuable lessons that contribute to your growth as an athlete. This shift in perspective promotes mental resilience and determination.
Prioritize Mental Training: I believe endurance sports more mental strength and resilience than even physical strength. Physical ability is crucially important too, but mindset is the defining factor. Incorporate mental training techniques such as visualization, mindfulness, and positive self-talk into your routine. These practices enhance focus, reduce anxiety, and build mental toughness, which are essential elements for success in endurance events.
Build a Support System: Surround yourself with a supportive community of fellow athletes, coaches, and friends who understand the unique demands of endurance sports. Having a strong support system provides motivation, accountability, and a sense of belonging, which makes the journey more enjoyable and sustainable.
In the world of endurance sports, where mental fortitude and consistent effort are paramount, traditional New Year resolutions often fall short. By adopting no limits mindset strategies customized to the specific challenges of endurance athletes, we can not only overcome the negative statistics but also thrive in our life pursuits. As you begin your journey into 2024, remember that success is a culmination of deliberate actions, perseverance, and a resilient mindset. Do not think of your results as successes or failures, but as stepping stones in your drive to be the best athlete that you can be.
May your 2024 be filled with growth, change and a no limits mindset!
About the Author
Leah Goldstein is a stunning example of living a life without limits. By age 17, she was the World Kickboxing Champion. Shortly thereafter, Leah enlisted in the Israeli Military and became one of the few female instructors of the elite Commando division. Leah then transitioned into a special-forces unit, combating terrorism and violent crimes. The extreme lifestyle of the secret police eventually took its toll, and she found her salvation on a bicycle. Leah Goldstein is a former professional cyclist, a personal trainer and motivational speaker currently residing in British Columbia, Canada. She battled through a 10-year career as a professional cyclist – and eventually to the longest single stage race in the world, Race Across America. Leah retired from thirteen years on the pro road race circuit in the spring of 2010, following an accident in which she broke both of her arms, and is now concentrating on ultra endurance racing. She recently participated in the 30th anniversary of the 2011 Race Across America, known as “the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race,”winning Best Overall Female, Best in Age Group, Queen of the Mountains, Queen of the Prairies, and Rookie of the Year, despite suffering from Shermer’s Neck after Day 4. On the evening June 26th,2021 Leah Goldstein made history. At 52 years old, Leah became the 1st female ever to WIN the overall SOLO division of the gruelling Race Across America in its 39 year history. From crashes to podiums, and fear to triumph – Leah Goldstein’s story gives us a glimpse of what’s truly possible from a life without limits.