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How to Set Goals Like Katie Ledecky

How to Set Goals Like Katie Ledecky

This past summer Katie Ledecky showed the world that she is better at swimming than the rest of us are at pretty much anything.

She thoroughly cleaned up in Rio, winning four gold medals—three of them individual—and a silver. Her 400 and 800m freestyle wins were devastating, with her margin of victory in the latter a staggering 11-plus seconds. She swept the 200-400-800m freestyles, something that hadn’t been done since 1968, displaying a once-in-a-generation range of speed and ability.

She’s now a two time Olympian, kicked an American Ninja Warrior’s butt at a made-up game on Ellen, and tossed a heater when she threw the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game.

And did we also mention that she’s only nineteen years old?

Here are some goal setting tips us mortals can pick up from the greatest active swimmer on the planet:

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Keep them visible.

Thinking and dreaming about our goals is easy. Everyone does that. If you are even mildly serious about crushing your goal, jotting it down and having it in sight is almost mandatory.

After all, something changes when you take literally five seconds to write down your goal. It becomes a little more real.

When Ledecky and her coach Bruce Gemmell sat down after the 2013 FINA World Championships, where she rocked the world records in the 800m and 1500m freestyles, they discussed what was possible over the next three years leading into Rio. They decided on two goal times: 3:56 for the 400m freestyle, and 8:05 for the 800m freestyle.

Even though they kept the goals to themselves as they prepared for the Olympics, the goals she had set were never far—she had written “565” to signify her two goal times on her pull buoy. Every day during her swimming workouts, during the long 8,000-9,000-yard training sessions with a nearly endless number of flip turns, those three little numbers were there waiting for her, motivating her, reminding her of the purpose of all the work.

And how did she do in Rio? She pretty much nailed her goals right over the head, swimming a 3:56.46 in the 400m freestyle, and 8:04.79 in the 800m freestyle.

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Be willing and ready to fail.

The word failure carries with it so much negative baggage that the moment we slip up, fail, or otherwise disappoint ourselves we quit. We tell ourselves, “Ah, we didn’t really want it that bad” and move on to the next thing, never giving our goals a fair and consistent effort.

Which is too bad, because without the ability to brave the initial hurdles and resistance we can never truly improve or advance towards the hard and rewarding things we want from life.

One of Ledecky’s strengths is her willingness to fail in practice, to see past the initial struggle and keep at it. In Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, her coach related just how serious Ledecky was when it came to being willing to fail:

“There are days she fails catastrophically,” he said. “She fails in practice more than anybody in her [training] group, because she’ll start out like, ‘This is the pace I need to swim in the race, so I need to replicate it in practice.’ And she’ll go six repeats like that, and the tank goes empty and she just falls off. But you know what? She’ll come back the next day and try it again. And on the third day, she’ll nail it. And she’s been doing this since the first day I walked on the deck with her.”

Nobody likes failing at something or not being good at something the first time out. Being willing to fail is not about getting comfortable losing or sucking—it’s using the rage and frustration from not nailing it the first time to get the hang of it in future attempts.

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Surround yourself with people who will bring out the best in you.

If you looked at the people you keep in your circle, would you say that they are inspiring bigger and better things out of you, or are they encouraging mediocrity and the status quo?

When you hang out with people who are doing the things you want to do it’s inevitable that their influence will help push and propel you upwards.

Ledecky, having outpaced the female swimmers on her team, trained predominantly with male swimmers in the lead up to Rio. During altitude camps at the United States Olympic Training Center, she would go head to head with male swimmers on the national team and routinely “break” them.

One of the male swimmers that Ledecky “broke” included Conor Dwyer, who is no slouch himself in the middle distance swimming events—he placed 4th in the 400m freestyle in Rio and won a bronze in the 200m freestyle.

By surrounding herself with swimmers who were faster than her she rode their wake towards faster swimming, elevating her to times and records that are so far and above the competition it’s ridiculous.

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Meet and Exceed Your Goals

Whatever your goals are—whether it be learning how to swim faster freestyle, or get that promotion at work, or get in better shape—there are lessons that the top swimmer on the planet can teach you.

Write out your goals and keep them in sight. Be ready to fight back against those first few moments of difficulty. And surround yourself with people who will push you upwards.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Published on July 23, 2020

10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

A wise person once said, “health is wealth” and strangely, the year 2020 has been a constant reminder of this.

Working on our fitness and personal health has now become a part of our daily routine. With the constant pour of medical knowledge and its open accessibility, people now prefer to manage their health on their own. Due to this, we have seen a rise in apps and newly designed devices to provide high-quality service in the field of health management. 

One of the most innovative and successful additions in this field has been in the form of fitness trackers. This stylish device that goes on the wrist will fool you into mistaking it for any ordinary watch. However, these trackers with their modern features have proven to be lifesavers.

If you are looking to fulfill your 2020 resolution of “staying healthy and happy”, then I have a list of the best fitness trackers that you just can’t miss.

I have gone through several fitness trackers reviews including reviews from Techradar, Pcmag, and Wired, and compiled this comprehensive guide on the best fitness trackers that will help you to improve your health.

1. Fitbit Versa Lite

    Whenever you think of one of the best fitness trackers, the first brand that comes to mind is Fitbit. They started originally about the size of a band, but as the brand has expanded, they now provide fitness tracker watches as well as fitness trackers with heart rate monitor features.

    The beauty of these fitness trackers is they can track everything by this point – from your sleep cycle down to your heart rate. The battery also has a battery life of 4 days before needing to be charged.

    The only drawback is that the tracking isn’t as accurate as it could be in terms of the miles or steps taken. If you don’t mind that discrepancy then it’s no big issue.

    Get this fitness tracker!

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    2. Fitbit Charge 3

      For those who still love Fitbit but want a budget-friendly option, you have the classic Fitbit. The Charge 3 model offers the same capabilities as the Versa Lite, making it one of the best fitness trackers available out there.

      The only drawback is that since you are working with a smaller screen, the font is going to be smaller and challenging to read.

      Get this fitness tracker!

      3. Garmin Vívoactive 3

        Looking for another fitness tracker to help you exercise? Try out Garmin’s brand. Garmin offers a wide option of designs of their fitness trackers watches too.

        Another perk from this fitness tracker is that it offers GPS capabilities and even access to music. You can also use it to make payments with certain bank cards.

        That being said, this is a more suitable budget option. Comparing this fitness tracker to some of the other best fitness trackers out there, you’ll find this one to be lacking in every area – blurry screen, unstable firmware, and unresponsive at times, especially during workout sessions.

        Get this fitness tracker!

        4. Huawei Band 3 Pro

          For fitness trackers for women, one brand to consider is Huawei’s. Their Band 3 Pro has been out in the market for a few years and takes on a similar design to Fitbit’s Charge 3, except the screen is bigger.

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          Like other fitness trackers, this offers 50M water resistance, making it ideal to be in pools. It also doubles as a camera, offering a shutter on the device.

          That said, the fitness tracker can be a little off with its tracking. Furthermore, it offers a limited option of workouts, making it not as ideal of a personal trainer as others.

          Get this fitness tracker!

          5. Fitbit Versa 2

            I already brought up the Vera Lite option, but this is the original. Similar to the Lite variant, this offers the same features and design. It is a bit stronger in that it can last upwards of 6 days on a charge. It also offers other connection features like connecting to Spotify and Alexa. Overall, if you’re looking for how to lose weight and improve health, this is a solid option.

            There are a few minor gripes about the Versa 2 as well. From having to remove the watch from the case every time to charge it to a few inaccurate tracking, it’s something most can work over if you’re not too picky.

            Get this fitness tracker!

            6. Apple Watch Series

              Naturally, since we’re talking about watches, it makes sense that Apple would appear in this too. There are various apps you can get on any Apple Watch to help you with your health goals. Thus, it could be one of your fitness trackers 2020 options.

              Apple’s watches provide a host of benefits, including easy syncing with other Apple products, GPS capabilities, and is one of the many waterproof fitness trackers, provided you’re only going for a swim.

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              The only thing is you can’t rely on it so much for its battery life or the overall design. The battery life isn’t good compared to other fitness trackers. Also, the strap for the watch isn’t the strongest.

              Get this fitness tracker!

              7. Samsung Galaxy Fit Black

                Samsung is another big brand people are familiar with. Samsung is in the market and offers more budget-friendly fitness trackers for people. The overall design of the Fit Black is a mesh of Fitbit’s Charge 3 and Huawei’s Band 3 Pro – a thin band and screen though it covers a long surface.

                In terms of other unique perks, since Samsung is also in the market for smartphones, this device can connect to smartphones, allowing you to take incoming calls and receive notifications as well. Outside of that, you have the usual fitness tracker perk of being able to monitor water/caffeine intake, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

                One of the downsides of this device is that the features listed above are the extent of what it can do. Also, a longer screen means that it might not fit well on many people’s wrists. 

                Get this fitness tracker!

                8. Polar A370

                  Another candidate for one of the best fitness trackers is Polar A370. If you’re looking for something with a simple design and simple features, this is a good pick.

                  This is your barebones fitness tracker in that it’s good at monitoring heart rate and sleep. It’s also compatible with other third-party apps to give you more information as well.

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                  On the flip side, barebones aren’t always what people are looking for. It can give you a good insight into particular issues, but it’s not going to be a solid lifetime fitness tracker.

                  Get this fitness tracker!

                  9. Fitbit Inspire HR

                    For a strong 24-hour fitness tracker, another worthy candidate is Fitbit’s Inspire HR brands. Like many of the Fitbit’s products, it tracks a wide variety of things like calories, heart rate, and sleep. It also tracks other fitness activities with ease like swimming, biking, fast walking, and running.

                    Naturally, there are some downsides as well, though they are minor. From things like a short charge cable to inaccurate tracking of steps, these things come with the territory of fitness trackers.

                    Get this fitness tracker!

                    10. FITFORT

                      The final fitness tracker we went over is the Fitfort. It’s a cheaper alternative to the other fitness trackers listed here, but it also comes with some unique perks. The biggest of which is that it can measure blood pressure along with other aspects of your personal health, too.

                      But like other cheap options, you do run the risk of the product breaking down after a while. For some customers, it went downhill in about five months. You may have better luck, but if you’re looking for something that lasts longer, you might want to look at other brands.

                      Get this fitness tracker!

                      Final Thoughts

                      Setting aside minor issues, there are many solid options for good fitness trackers to help you out with weight loss and improving your health. If you’re still torn on what to choose, go for a device that is compatible with your other devices, especially your phone.

                      More Fitness Tips

                      Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

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