Goal Setting: Why they need to be SMARTER

“A dream without focus is just a wish. A goal without a plan is just a dream”

Having a dream isn’t difficult to come up with. I had mine at just 11 years old.

“To go to the Olympics and represent Team GB”

At the time I knew it was a big ask, not many swimmers in the world make it to an Olympic Games. So, I set myself some goals and 7 years later I achieved my dream and became an Olympian at London 2012!

Goal setting: An action plan designed to motivate and guide an individual towards a goal.

Setting goals is a simple and effective mental tool to help take your performance to the next level. They are often very personal and meaningful to the individual and often referred to as a dream! 

Goal setting allows for 2 things: 

1. Offers the ability to be motivated and focused towards your dream.

2. Provides the road map to your dream by giving you steps to follow.

Sounds simple right?

It is, but it’s not easy to set goals well. A goal can’t simply be a blanket statement, it needs depth, clarity and constraints to give you something to work towards and be held accountable against.

Get better at turns

Get better at frontcrawl

Get better at starts

...are just some of the “goals” I have heard swimmers set in the past. These aspirations fall short of being a well thought out goals as they aren’t detailed enough, specific enough or challenging enough. Setting SMARTER goals is a great way to make sure they are most effective!

The SMARTER principle outlines the criteria for setting a well written goal.


IS YOUR GOAL SPECIFIC – The more you detail the specifics within your goal, the clearer your goal will be.

For example: Don’t just say you want to do a 100 freestyle PB, set a specific time you would like to swim it in.