Ariana Kukors is an Olympic swimmer, world-record holder and Pacific Northwest native who is working with LifeWise to promote healthy living. Follow along on her journey to live an active and healthy life.
After the disappointment I felt following the 2008 Olympic Trials, I tried not to watch too much of the Beijing Olympic on TV. After coming so close to earning a spot on the team, it was just too hard. However, I knew my friend, Michael Phelps, was making history with every stroke. So, along with the rest of the world, I tuned in to watch him win 8 gold medals – the most ever at a single Olympic Games.
While I was, of course, happy for Michael, I had my own goals and achievements in mind. While at home, I read a book called The Secret that forever changed how I approach life and how I set goals.
Taking what I learned in the book, I created something that I call my Dream Board. Nothing fancy – just a cork bulletin board where I collect things I am working toward achieving. Over the years, I’ve included goals related to my classes and GPA, as well as swimming times and photos of the medals I wanted to win. There is also a fun section where you’ll find pictures of the puppy I want someday, my future “mom” car, vacation destinations, hand bags, shoes and so on. Every time I achieve one of my goals, I take it down and replace it with something new.
This board is one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning, and when I look at it I think, “This is the person I want to be, and these are the things I want to do. So today… what can I do to get one step closer to these goals and dreams?”
This board has inspired me a lot. Most importantly, it’s made my goals seem much less scary. I was no longer a girl waking up each day trying to make the Olympic team. Instead, I was a girl waking up trying to get just a little bit better each day in every area of her life.
After I created the board, my swimming career improved drastically. I also found that I became a better daughter, sister, friend, leader and teammate. I used to set only long term goals, but through my dream board I created short term and daily goals that helped me track my progress towards bigger achievements. I gave myself more clarity on what I was working towards and how to get better daily to achieve my goals and dreams. Every single area of my life improved thanks to the goals that I had laid out.
For a time, I thought that Olympic dreams were for other people. Certainly not something a girl from Auburn, Wash., should aspire to. It wasn’t until I was able to look at my goals, and myself, in a different way that I was able to see my full potential, and then take the necessary steps to reach it.
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