Big up your Goals

Today I read about Dan Martin.  On the 8th May he’s going to set off with his Speedos and a swimming cap and swim from Canada to France. Wow. But then he’s going to get on a bike and cycle across Europe through Russia and over to Alaska. Cricky. Then he’s going to run to New York. Absurd.  An extreme athlete – his website’s here

Talk about “bigging” up your goals…Dan has gone for one of the biggest goal known to man and good for him. But this got me thinking about goal setting for us mere mortals.  Do we really challenge ourselves when setting our own goals and objectives?

For my 40th birthday my wife bought me a three hour excursion with an Advanced Police Driving Instructor to learn how to drive excessively fast…legally.  

On a breezy October morning, my friend David and I met up and set off in our new friend’s Volvo. The three of us, me rather excited but apprehensive and David acting rather cool, drove to Fairford Airport in Oxfordshire for our first lesson in how to control a car whilst skidding. Then he taught us how to drive fast.  I mean really fast.


The finale of this lesson was to take the wheel of his hideously quick Volvo and drive as fast as I could along a public highway.  I tell you I was scared.

“You take the wheel first” said the policeman “and take us as fast as you can, but don’t forget what I taught you“. Great advice especially the negative command so my brain immediately forgot everything he taught me.

But I knew a little bit about setting goals so I said to myself that I would exceed 115mph.  I knew my limits!

Off I went cruising at 70mph.  “OK said the policeman, let’s take it up”. And off I went 80…90…100mph…110….118mph.  Was I thrilled?  Safe, relieved, I slowed down and let my friend David have a go.

Within a minute he was doing 136mph.  I asked him afterwards how he managed it.  David said that since I’d gone first and he could see himself going faster than me as it was now easier.

So stretch your goals – you’d be amazed as to what we are capable of.  10 years ago David Beckham was the only real master free kick taker in the Premiership.  He was so good they named a film after him “Bend it like Beckham”.  Nowadays every team has one or two specialist free-kick takers

For many years, the scientific and athletic communities thought that it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. It was first achieved on 6th May 1954 by Roger Bannister. The four minute barrier has since been broken by many male athletes, and is now the standard of all professional middle distance runners. In the last 50 years the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds.

So stretch your goals just that little bit more.  And for me and my need for speed?  It’s never done much for me…I rarely exceed 85 mph these days preferring to do a leisurely speed to conserve petrol and at 122p a litre who can blame me?