Lifeline Connections

What does it take to be an Olympic Athlete?

When you are in recovery, it may seem impossible to get to a point of simple, daily, clean living. After all, it is a lot of work! So, it may be hard to imagine how anyone can train to compete in some of the most physically difficult tasks in the world. Even if you have no intentions to become an Olympic athlete, take these tips to heart as you work toward your goal of full recovery.

Goal setting, goal setting, goal setting.
Making goals is more than important- it is essential to eventually qualifying for the Olympics. Although the final goal is to earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal, there are hundreds of little goals that each athlete must meet first. Most of these athletes perform professionally and have to sacrifice time with friends and family in order to be in tip-top shape to meet their goal. On the USA Swimming website, they suggest three important reasons for goal setting; “1. Goals provide direction. 2. Goals provide feedback. Goals motivate; provide a daily purpose.” Imagine how many missed steps and missed learning opportunities occur when someone fails to create goals!

Put in the time.
In a book titled, “Outliers, The Story of Success,” the author Malcolm Gladwell suggests that to become a grandmaster “seems to take about 10 years,” which he then says equates to about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice. It seems overwhelming! But when spread out over a period of time and when done consistently, the time can be manageable. This not only takes a sacrifice of time, but time away from other things that athletes would like to do. That’s why the next tip is so important. Using the previous tip before this one is important. Imagine what it might be like without using goals with time. You could put in 100 hours a week, but it might not be as effective as wisely using only 60 hours a week. So, while time is good, it’s more important to use both concurrently.

Live a well-balanced life.
For some athletes, life after the Olympics can be crushing. Sometimes there is a risk for depression or addiction. While post-Olympics may be anticlimactic, it may be due more to the lack of development of other parts of their lives. Often part of the process of achieving something great comes at the cost of spending time with friends and family, putting off school, or cutting into a more sustainable career path. On top of that, doing well to maintain friendships and family relationships creates a support system that not only helps the athletes get there but also transcends the Olympic games. These sustainable relationships provide balance and a foundation of stability that can get athletes through difficult times as well as enjoyable times. Next to having a healthy social life, it’s also important to maintain healthy bodies and healthy mind. They benefit from abstaining from harmful substances and paying attention to how different foods affect their bodies. Many athletes see a sports psychologist to keep a healthy mindset before, during, and after performance. Additionally, many are avid participants in religious activity. Religion can play a great part in social, physical, and psychological support.

It seems so basic but consistent goals, with dedicated time, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are all elements of becoming an Olympic athlete. But even if you don’t have high hopes for throwing the javelin, or swimming 400 meters, you probably have hopes for living a clean life free from the chains of drug use, as well as developing healthy relationships, and progressing on a specific career path. All of these steps are important. At Lifeline Connections, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your end goals as well. If you are ready to let us help you, give us a call or send us an email and we will work with you as soon as possible. 360-397-8246 ext. 7580 or


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