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Self Improvement: Nicol David’s Ultimate Guide to Achieving Goals

March 9, 2024

Nicol David's Ultimate Guide to Self Improvement by Setting and Achieving Goals!

Nicol David takes us on her journey from a young squash enthusiast to an international champion in her course “Unleash Your Inner Champion” on Nicol David is not just about athletic prowess but also about discipline, perseverance, and self improvement. At 18, she moved to Amsterdam with a single goal: to become world champion and world number one. Under the guidance of her coach, Liz, she embarked on a journey that would not only redefine her career but also offer valuable lessons for anyone striving for excellence.

Importance of Setting Goals and How to Set Them for Self Improvement

Arriving in Amsterdam, Nicol’s coach, Liz, emphasised the importance of patience in achieving her lofty goals. To visualise success, Nicol studied past champions, analysing their techniques, tactics, and strategies.

  • Set clear, specific goals: Define what you want to achieve, whether it’s career advancement, self improvement, or skill improvement. Instead of aiming to “be successful,” set a goal to “achieve a promotion within two years by mastering new skills and exceeding performance expectations.”
  • Break goals into smaller milestones: Divide big goals into smaller, more manageable tasks to track progress and maintain motivation. Break down the goal of career advancement into smaller steps like acquiring new certifications, completing training programs, or networking with industry professionals.

“You set the tone for yourself. And that’s when you have control
of what you want to do. You can’t wait for someone to tell you,
Ok, do this, or do that.”

– Nicol David

How to Break Goals Down into Smaller, More Achievable Goals

Liz identified five areas for Nicol to improve: technique, tactics, speed and movement, strength, and mental capacity. Nicol diligently worked on each area, breaking down weaknesses and enhancing strengths.

  • Prioritise goals: Identify which goals are most important and urgent, focusing on those first. If you want to improve your public speaking skills for career advancement, prioritise attending public speaking workshops or joining Toastmasters.
  • Set SMART goals: Make goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound to ensure clarity and accountability. Instead of setting a vague goal to “improve communication skills,” set a SMART goal like “deliver a presentation to the team by the end of the quarter, receiving positive feedback.”

How to Plan Your Schedule Around Your Goals

Time management was crucial for Nicol’s efficient training and improvement. She followed a periodisation plan, aligning her training with tournament schedules.

  • Use a calendar or planner: Schedule dedicated time for working towards your goals, blocking out distractions and focusing solely on tasks. Allocate specific hours each week for studying if your goal is to earn a certification or degree while working full-time.
  • Prioritise tasks: Identify high-priority tasks and allocate time for them first, ensuring essential goals receive adequate attention. If your goal is to start a side business, prioritise tasks like market research, product development, or building a website over less critical activities.

Tracking Small Incremental Improvements and How to Gradually Build Discipline for Self Improvement

Nicol’s discipline was honed over years of dedicated training, from her early days as a young squash player to her illustrious professional career. She emphasises the importance of consistent habits and routines.

  • Monitor progress: Track your progress regularly, celebrating small victories and adjusting strategies as needed. Keep a journal to record daily accomplishments, setbacks, and lessons learned, providing insight into areas for improvement.
  • Develop routines: Establish consistent daily routines that support your goals, incorporating habits that contribute to success. Create a morning routine that includes exercise, meditation, and goal-setting to start each day with focus and intention.

“You can’t achieve everything every month,
but you can try to get your best achievement and
really peak on those moments that you need, that matters to you.”

– Nicol David

In summary, Nicol David’s journey illustrates the power of discipline, perseverance, and self improvement in achieving goals. By setting clear objectives, breaking them down into manageable tasks, planning effectively, and tracking progress, anyone can emulate her success in their chosen endeavours. Remember, discipline is not innate but developed through consistent effort and dedication, much like building a muscle. So, stay focused, stay motivated, and keep striving for excellence in all aspects of your life.

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