Why we should set ourselves personal goals in life - a case study

20-04-17
Triathlon Personal Goals Motivation New Zealand GBR Triathlon World Championship Brownlee Brothers Triathlon Coach c500club

I am a mum of three, who went past the big five oh a couple of years ago, and I'm someone who makes her body do at least 14 hours of exercise a week for at least seven months in preparation for a 75 minute race. Madness, isn't it? But that's what it takes to be in the top ten in the world in my age group in triathlon. You have to have a lot of self-discipline and motivation to get up and out, day in, day out when you know each time you're going to push yourself and often it hurts, a lot! It is a challenge, but I thrive off giving myself a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) and seeing if I can achieve it.


It all started when a friend of mine who I used to do the occasional training session with told me she'd just represented Great Britain in triathlon. I had done a couple of triathlon races before, so that got me thinking - if she can do it so can I (always a good motivator I think). However, I was living in New Zealand at the time, ticking along by swimming a couple of times a week and doing the odd run. Rather sheepishly, I said to my swim coach, "I want compete for New Zealand in the World Triathlon Championships". I said, rather sheepishly, because I was fully aware that the qualifying race for the World Championships was only 5 weeks away. He almost laughed ... but not quite! Bearing in mind at that stage I was talking about competing in the Olympic distance race (that's what the Brownlee brothers do), which is a solid two-and-a-half-hour race, this was quite a tall order to say the least. He agreed to coach me, and fortunately for me he was a well-respected triathlon coach. So that's it, my goal was set. Well that was seven years ago, and I suspect you want to know if I managed it or not?! I'm pleased to say that yes, I did and I've carried on with triathlon since representing both NZ and GBR.


So why do I challenge myself and what keeps me going? Well really and truly, I do it because I CAN. No-one ever knows what's around the corner and having lost two friends in their 40s to cancer and a heart attack respectively (sadly both pretty fit, nonsmokers and certainly not overweight), I strongly feel if you are blessed enough to be able to do something, then you should do it. One day I'll be too old, (although a few of my GBR and NZ team mates are in their late 70s - so are you ever too old?), have a debilitating injury or God forbid, an illness. And of course, one day I'll be dead - life's pretty short when you think about it. It only seems like yesterday that I was at school.

So you must do these things whilst you can. I always set myself a new goal each time, usually to do with position in the field.


I understand that a physical challenge is not for everyone, but as it is for me, I always remember that the pain of the doing fades, but the result is with you forever. A goal gives me focus and purpose in life and I feel fortunate and grateful that I can do what I want to do. My goals tend to be BHAGs as I said, but any goal, no matter how small, will lead to a sense of achievement and self-respect. We only live once ... live it well.

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About the author

Pippa Turley

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My job is helping people to live a healthy, active life especially through my association with all natural, toxin-free products which vastly improve our health and well-being and the immediate environment we live in.

I am an Age Group Triathlete, Silver Medalist at the World Masters Games 2017 and formerly 8th in the World.

I have represented both New Zealand and Great Britain and raced in 6 World Championships, 3 European Championships and 1 World Masters Games over the last 7 years

Finally, but by no means least, I am a mum of three great kids! 



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