10 Tips To Achieve Any Goal

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31 minutes ago, I achieved A Goal.  I started 8 months ago, and I just crossed the finish line within the last hour.

It felt good.  Really good.

I learned 10 valuable tips while achieving this goal which I’m sharing with you today.  Apply as many of them as possible in your life, and boost your odds of achieving any goal.


Achieve A Goal

Goals are important, and they can make a positive impact on your life.  Do you look for areas in your life where you can set some goals?  I do, and find it a worthwhile personal challenge.  Goals make life more interesting.  They make life more fun.  If you haven’t already, give them a try.  Achieve A Goal!

10 Tips Learned While Achieving A Goal - use them to help you achieve your goals! Click To Tweet

When I set The Goal, I had no idea the impact it would have on me over the next 8 months.  The places it would take me.  The things it would make me do.  All were good, and most would NOT have happened were it not for The Goal.  Today, I’ll tell you the story, and encourage you to use it as an example and look for ways to set a few goals in your life…..

I’m keeping it light today, with Lots of Pics!  (‘cuz we all love pics, right?)


Setting The Goal

Doug is the maintenance guy at my City Apartment.  He knows I love to swim, and last Fall he kept the pool open through November so I could Achieve The Dream of swimming in London.  When I ran into Doug in February this year, he asked me when I’d like him to open the pool up for the Spring.

His question got my head spinning, and led to my goal for 2017.

Motivated by reading Younger Next Year (thanks, Ms. Montana!), I wanted to find a way to hold myself accountable for working out consistently.  As Doug stood waiting for my response, I decided to create a personal goal, on the spot.  I said it’d be great if he could open the pool on March 1, and he agreed.  The Goal was established in my mind.

In reality, it doesn’t really matter what my goal was.  What’s important is the process, and how you can apply it in your situation.  I’ll walk through my goal as an example, and encourage you to view it through the lens of what you’re facing in your life.   Focus on thinking about how you can apply the same process and the lessons learned to achieve a goal in your life.

The Goal Was Set: Swim outside, EVERY WEEK, from Mar 1 - Nov 1! Click To Tweet

Don’t make excuses for why you can’t set a challenge for yourself.  Work with what you have, and set a goal.


10 Tips To Help You Achieve A Goal

The tips I learned while achieving the goal will be presented chronologically, in the same sequence they occurred.  It all started in the early Spring of 2017, shortly after Doug agreed to have the pool open on March 1.

I was there on Day 1….

Mar 1 – The First Swim

Tip 1:  Start Working Toward Your Goal.

On March 1, the water was cold.  Really cold. The water was 52F (11C) and would end up being recorded as my coldest swim of the year.  I lasted 25 minutes and wrote about that first swim here.  My swimming season was officially underway.  My journey toward completing the goal had begun.


Mar 24 – Lake Oconee, GA

Tip 2:  Find A Way To Create Memories

An early morning swim across the cold (55F, 13F) waters of Lake Oconee in Georgia was captured via drone and posted to YouTube.  It’s only 2 minutes long, I’d encourage you to have a quick look.  It was a beautiful morning and marked my first open water swim of 2017.  It was made all the more memorable by having a crazy Brit co-worker join me for the madness.  Memories of London, and gratitude to my co-worker who shot the footage and put the video together.


May 18 – Taking A Break From Good To Great

Tip 3:  Overcome obstacles.

Among the 7 lessons I learned during our move from Good to Great, it’s important to not let roadblocks stop you from doing what you want to do.  When my planned mountain biking trip was blocked by an unexpected obstacle, I regrouped and headed for a swim in Lake Blue Ridge instead.  What followed was an absolutely fantastic swim in the clear waters of the North Georgia mountains.  It was a welcomed break in the middle of an intense week.


June 6 – Lake Michigan

Tip 4:  Leverage travel to push your goals into new areas.

Lake Michigan water takes a LONG time to warm up in the summer, and it was a chilly 63F (17C) during my morning swim in early June.  I was there for a work conference, but took advantage of the opportunity to knock off a bucket list item of swimming in Lake Michigan!

The initial plunge was dramatically captured in the 47-second Chariots Of Fire imitation on YouTube, complete with slow motion! Go ahead and click, I’ll wait….  The Dolphin called in sick that morning but was courteous enough to join a co-worker in filming the initial plunge into the chilly waters.  I’ll forever cherish that view of the Chicago skyline while swimming in the waters of Lake Michigan.


July 15 – The Bahamas

Tip 5:  Make It Fun.

Keeping an 8-month streak alive often takes innovative solutions.  While on vacation in The Bahamas, I took advantage of a “beach day” to get in an amazing swim on this marvelous little Cay.  I’ll never forget looking down at a manta ray swimming below me in the crystal clear waters.  One of my best swims of the year, and it wouldn’t have happened had I not had The Goal pushing me to complete the swim during a week of vacation.  It was fun.


Aug 22 – Lake Zurich, Switzerland

Anyone up for an impromptu swim?

Tip 6:  Engage others in a goal you’re pursuing.

When my Lake Zurich swim was canceled (resulting in 32 minutes of disappointment),  I decided to create an impromptu alternative.  I sent an email to a few associates and organized a group swim in the beautiful Lake Zurich.  The event was fun for us all and resulted in several in the group celebrating the longest swim they’d ever done in their lives.  They were thrilled.  It was a blast!


Sep 19 – Bahrain

Gotta love Middle Eastern resorts. They do it right.

Tip 7:  Adapt to your surroundings to achieve your goal.

I was hoping to swim in The Persian Gulf (or, The Arabian Sea as the locals call it), but my hotel wasn’t convenient to a beach, and I didn’t think a taxi ride was worth the effort, given the locale.  Fortunately, my hotel had a world-class pool, and I kept my weekly streak alive with two swims in this beautiful water during my stay in The Middle East.  With temps over 100F during my stay, it was the last “warm water” swim of my season. Cold water was coming, and coming fast….


Oct 14 – Across Lake Blue Ridge, & Back!

I swam to the point on the far R of the pic, then took 2 right turns. Across & Back!

Tip 8:  Find others who can motivate you to achieve your goal.

The longest swim of the year, this early morning 2+ mile swim took me across Lake Blue Ridge and back in 1 Hour, 20 Minutes!   It was the furthest I’ve ever swum in my life, and it felt great!   I’m excited to have met two local guys who swim in the lake 3x per week, and I’m looking forward to many swims with them in the future.


Oct 24 – Cedar Hill State Park, Texas

Tip 9:  Involve your family.  

This swim was special to me – it was a rare opportunity to spend time with my sister, who I see far too infrequently.  When I learned that all of my nerdy friends at FinCon were going to be in Dallas, I took advantage of the opportunity to spend a few days with my sister who lives in the area.  On a beautiful Tuesday morning on Oct 24th, I jumped into Joe Pool Lake at Cedar Hill State Park for a VERY windy and cool swim while my sister relaxed tried to keep from being blown away on the shore.  It was a great visit with my sister and her daughters, and the first time I’d ever swam in Texas!  Thanks for taking the pics, Sis!  I really enjoyed our time together!  Thanks for supporting me as I worked on achieving The Goal!


Nov 1 – Achieving The Goal

A big cold front moved through a few days ago, and the water temperature dropped quickly.  The final swim of 2017 was a cold one, with the water dipping into the 50’s for the first time of the year.  I went for a full 40 minutes and paid the price with a 30-minute episode of “The Shakes” following the swim.  As much as I love cold water swimming, there comes a point where the cost isn’t worth the benefit.  Tonight was that night.  Trust me, the Shakes are brutal.  If you want to learn more about the impact of cold water on the body, read this.

Tip 10:  Celebrate Success

I just achieved a personal goal in my life. 8 Straight months of swimming. #AchievingAGoal Click To Tweet

Nov 6 – “The Bonus Swim”

Nov 6 – My City Apartment pool – looks inviting, right?

Bonus Tip:  Seize Opportunities.  Carpe Diem.

As I do this “final edit” in the evening hours of Nov 6, I smile as I think about the “Bonus Swim” I snuck in tonight. Although I thought my season was shut down after last week’s swim, we’ve just had a 5-day warm streak of weather.  The water actually warmed up a few degrees since last week.  How could I pass that up??

Get it while you can get it, and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Carpe Diem. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Goals add value to life.  Apply these tips as you find a way to challenge yourself.  Create a goal.  Make it any goal that works for you. Just give it a try. While you’re at it, create a couple.

If you’re a potter, make that vase.  If you’re a reader, read that book. If you’re a runner, run that marathon.  If you’re pursuing a great retirement, make it whatever you want.  The world is your oyster.  Apply these tips as best you can, and improve your odds of achieving a great retirement.

10 11 Tips To Achieve A Goal

  • Start Working Toward Your Goal.
  • Find A Way To Create Memories.
  • Overcome Obstacles.
  • Leverage travel to push your goals into new areas.
  • Make It Fun.
  • Engage others in a goal you’re pursuing.
  • Adapt to your surroundings to achieve your goal.
  • Find others who can motivate you to achieve your goal.
  • Involve your family.
  • Celebrate Success.
  • Seize Opportunities.  Carpe Diem.
  • Bonus Tip 2 (see below):  Never Stop Pushing The Envelope.

Challenge yourself.

Celebrate your success.

Achieve A Great Retirement.


Nov 14 – Post Production Edit:  Bonus Tip #2

Bonus Tip 2:  Never Stop Pushing The Envelope.

This post went live at 5:40 am on Tuesday, Nov 14.  At 6:00 pm that same night, I entered the pool yet again.   November 14th!   The Streak Is Alive!  Mar 1 – Nov 14, every single week!  I think tonight will be the end of it, for real this time. The water was cold (55F/13C), and next week I’m planning on hanging out in the mountains for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s been a good run….and I pushed the envelope to the end.  Thanks for being there with me….

PS.  In closing,  special thanks to my friend I Dream Of Fire, who took it upon himself to write this cute little poem after he challenged me to continue with “just one more, think of those memories!”.  When I responded with “Do dead men have memories”, he responded with this creative poem which he proposed I turn into a song.  He even went so far as to create an album cover for me from a pic I’d posted on Twitter!  Gotta love this community!

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31 comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for this recap!!! I love how you documented the plethora of swim locations with pictures and video… what a great way to keep on track and make it fun! You’ll have to pencil in a few swims in northern Michigan (I suggest Crystal Lake and West Grand Traverse Bay… but I’m partial to my favorites 😉 )

  2. Excellent post Fritz! Enjoyable, motivating and instructive. I wish I could tolerate cold water like you do! Instead, I’ll stick to hot weather running. I guess I’m made for sweating instead of shivering!

  3. Congratulations on achieving your goal! BTW, I LOVE the photo of you running into Lake Michigan.

    “Make it fun” is very important and easy to forget. But when our goals feel like chores we’re not going to accomplish them.

    Thanks for the post and all the beautiful photos.

  4. Congrats on the swimming goal! If you make it out to Texas, the water temps in Canyon lake are still 74-78 degrees, a relative bath temp compared to what you’ve been swimming in. You could take a dip there pretty much any time of the year. 🙂

    If you get out here before we move out there, the lakes around here are still similar temps, low to mid 70’s. Plenty warm to swim in. 🙂

    1. Max, thanks for stopping by! Trust me, my mind whirls with my “Goals” for retirement. Still trying to sort all of that out, but you can be assured that I’ll be keeping myself busy doing the things I choose to do! Ah…the benefits of Financial Freedom!

  5. Love this! Long time lurker… I lived right near Joe Pool lake for years and your mention of it brought a smile to my face 🙂 Great tips.

    1. Hey Lurker Kate! Small world! My sister lives close to Joe Pool, and it was an excellent and memorable swim. Man, the wind was BLOWING that day! I’ll remember it for years! Thanks for moving from “Lurker” to “Participant”, I appreciate your comment!

  6. That’s really cool, Fritz! Ok, I’m definitely not a fan of the first swim in the cold water (freeze baby!), but you hit up some really cool places along the way to make this fun!

    I love personal victory goals like this! Getting other friends and family involved makes it even more special.

    Nice job!!

    — Jim

    1. 2018….hmmm. I need to think long and hard about that one. I’m retiring in June, so I’m thinking of having a “First Half” goal, then revisiting post-retirement. Leaning toward a winter goal of consistent upper body weight work-outs, and an increase in running. That’ll get me through the “swimming season” in March, when I’ll revisit my swimming goal(s) for the year!

  7. I’m excited to set a fun goal! Thanks for the tips to keep the inspiration flowing to achieve our goals. I love how you showed that no matter where life takes you, there is a way to stay committed to your plan. Cheers!

  8. Congratulations Fritz! Nicely done and beautifully documented. I have swum one time in the cold waters of the Monterey Bay and I swore to myself, raven style, – nevermore. I did that swim (well, dive actually) encased in a wetsuit for my Scuba certification and the whole time I was in there I alternated between wanting to die and thinking that I must already be dead because I was so numb.

  9. You are a rockstar and truly an inspiration!! I absolutely love that you set and met your goal and now have a great story and fantastic pictures to go along with it. You’ll have to add Silfra to your list of places to swim. It is a place like no other, but let’s just say I had a good case of the shakes afterwards.

    This post was incredibly timely for me since I have so many goals and just as many excuses as to why I can’t accomplish them. Time to do something about that.

    1. Silfra, Iceland – home of the clearest water on earth! You can see the length of a football field underwater! Crazy that you were able to swim (snorkel? dive?) there. May have to add it to my bucket list! I’ve been to Iceland, but it was on a short biz trip, and my wife and I want to go back to do some slow travel around the island. Magical place.

      And yes, it is “Time to do something about that”. Smiles.

  10. Nice work, Fritz! I might have mentioned this before, but if you’re ever in Minnesota we need to get you up to Lake Superior for some fun cold water swimming up dar! You betcha.

    I’ll never forget the time I jumped in that lake while on a sailing trip in early June. I was in the water for about .0003 seconds. BRRR!

    Great advice on making goals happen – and swimming around the obstacles to find your way to success.

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