7 principles that work for me

(with my illustrations)

Find your talent

Thomas Edison said that success is 1% inspiration [talent] and 99% perspiration [hard work].

That’s so true, though in sports, the top places are usually reserved for athletes with the best physical abilities.  Natural talents.


Over the years I’ve seen many athletes who were much more talented than me.  However, they were not prepared to work as hard as I was.

They slowly fell behind.  Most of them quit because they were frustrated by their lack of progress.

What a shame!  What a waste of talent!

Don’t make the same mistake.  Find your talent and nurture it.

There are over thirty events in Track & Field athletics alone. Chances are, you’re talented for at least one of them.

You’ll need a club and a coach to help you discover your talents and start developing them.

There are 60+ athletic clubs in the country, members of the Athletic Federation of Slovenia.  Look for one that fits best.

If you live or study in Ljubljana, I heartily recommend AD Mass.

Find out what it is that you’re good at—or can become good at—and go for it!

Set goals

Set big goals for yourself.  Huge goals.  Crazy goals!

Like going to the Olympics.  What’s bigger than that?  Or your equivalent of the Olympics.

Whatever it is, just aim high.  Aim insanely high.

Because that dream will pull you through the pain, fear, and tough times. (Yes, there’ll be all of that down the road).

Then—and this is the crucial part—break down your BIG goal into tiny, measurable goals.

Daily, weekly, monthly goals.  With specific distances, times, and weight loads.

Daily goals should be challenging but doable.  They should be a stretch so that you feel pleased when you think back on your day in the evening.

Here’s a five-step goal-setting plan that works for me…

Step 1: Train hard and smart daily.

Step 2: Reach weekly/monthly progression milestones (time, distance, load…).

Step 3: Allow your body (and mind) to adjust to higher intensity levels.

Step 4: Gradually increase your training goals.

Step 5: Rest. Recover. Repeat.

Always measure and record your training results and progress.  It’s so very important.  If you don’t, you’ll be in the dark and that will get you nowhere.

There’s no overnight success in sports. 

Your biggest, shiniest achievement may be as far as a decade away.  It would be a shame to give it up, right?

So set your goals and milestones wisely.  They will keep you on the right track to your ultimate success.

And be patient.  It will take years.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Bill Gates

Work hard

This is the difficult part.  No doubt about it.

Doing long sprints, endurance runs, and powerlifting—and doing it right—is always hard work.  Even when things go well.  And especially when they don’t.

How do you motivate yourself?

I think about how every workout brings me closer to my goals.

It’s a deal I have with myself.  Whatever gets me closer to my dream—and is ethical and doesn’t harm me—I do it.

Here’s another personal rule.

I never skip training.  Even if I don’t feel well or if I’d rather be someplace else.  I still do it.

Because I know that if I skipped training once, I would have an excuse to do it again.

“Your body can stand almost anything.  It’s your mind that you have to convince.”

I also know that no matter how tired or sluggish or uninspired I feel before the workout, I will always feel better afterward.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Because I proved stronger than my weaknesses.

2. Because physical activity is uplifting by itself.

3. And most importantly, because I’ve met my daily goals and got another step closer to the BIG one.

Work smart

For success in sports—or any area of life—working smart seems to be the crucial part of the formula.

And the toughest one to figure out.

Not all athletes realize this.  They know exactly what they want and they work hard to get it.

But it’s so easy to do things the wrong way.  It’s so easy to miss something important.

When I started athletics at age twelve, I had no clue about anything.  I knew “why” but not “what,” “when,” or “how”.

I didn’t question things.  I just did what my coach told me to do.  (I know, some don’t even do that.)

Slowly it came to me that this would not be enough.  That if I wanted to get better, I would need to understand how things work.

So I started paying attention—on the track, in the gym, and online—to how others were doing the drills, routines, sprints, etc.

Soon I was able to tell a good technique from a bad one, a quick start from a sluggish one, a fit physique from a not-so-fit one.

I visualized good movements and tried to repeat them at my training.  It seemed to work.

But it’s tough.  To be on the top of our game, there are a million things to think about.

Peak performance in sports is a science and art nowadays.  It’s ridiculously complex.

A good coach with a good program is a must.  A team of experts is always better.

But it all starts with us athletes.  The most important member of the winning team is YOU.

Get smarter and you’ll get stronger, bolder, and faster.

Stay positive

Successful athletes, those top achievers, have one major thing in common.  They are unshakably optimistic.

They radiate positive energy and love to spread it around.  Follow them, read their stuff, and spend as much time with them as possible.

If you’re often surrounded by negative people, it could affect you.  You know, people who seem to enjoy putting others down (or themselves) or who constantly complain about everything and everyone.

These are not healthy relationships.  They could cost you progress and success.

You may want to consider moving away from these people or spending less time with them.

Even if it’s your coach.  Especially if it’s your coach.

“Your body can stand almost anything.  It’s your mind that you have to convince.”

Another big thing is how we talk to ourselves.  It’s just as important as how we talk to others.

“I can” and “I will” are good examples of positive self-talk and so are “just do it,” “you own it,” and similar.

Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones in training and before the competition.  In fact, why not do it in your everyday life, and in any situation?

Our inner voice and subconscious mind can be our best friend.  Or our worst enemy.

We have enough competitors on the track.  Let’s not feed another opponent in our head.

Be optimistic.  Stay positive.

Stay injury-free

Easier said than done when you train and compete on a high level.


A. If you know your body and mind well,

B. If you feed it the food and nutrition it needs,

C. If you have a good physio and a TMG analyst (and massage therapist),

D. And if you regularly do injury prevention exercises…

… you will greatly reduce the chances of something nasty happening to you.

For success in sport, you must stay healthy and fit.

Any injury or health issue could set you back for weeks, even months. Many quit because an injury stops them in their tracks (pun intended!).

Be smart, learn how your body works, and take good care of it.  Don’t push it over the limits, especially when feeling flat or fatigued.

Avoid risky stuff and silly accidents.  Be careful, but enjoy playing in the big outdoors in the off season.

I learned early to have a clear plan of what to do and where to go if something happens.  With any injury, time and therapy are of the essence.

As in any other profession, there are good specialists and then there are great specialists.  Work with the best.

Whatever happens, stay optimistic.

And never take your eyes off your big dream beyond life’s hills and valleys.

Never quit

Nobody likes to quit things.

Nobody likes to be called a quitter or a loser.  Or think of themselves as such.

Remember, the best defense against quitting is success and progress.

And the best way to keep on enjoying progress is to work hard and smart, have a positive attitude and be persistent no matter what happens.

But maybe you’ve already done all of that and there’s still no improvement.

Or maybe you have a bad injury that doesn’t seem to heal or pain that doesn’t want to go away.

Or maybe you don’t have support from your family and friends.  Or even your coach.

That sucks.  That really sucks.

Try to look at things from a different angle.

It’s not just about results, you know.  It’s not just about being the best and winning medals and titles. 

Sport, especially athletics, is so much more…
  • It shapes your character,
  • It shapes your physique,
  • It keeps you in good company,
  • It keeps you outdoors with plenty of sun and fresh air,
  • And it reduces your screen time and increases your face-to-face time.

If you quit, you may lose some or all of these advantages.  Keep going, it’s definitely worth it.

According to research done by Nike and Women’s Sports Foundation, girls quit sports (or never get involved) much more often than boys, up to twice as often as boys.

If you feel a need to share your concerns, talk to someone you trust.

Or get in touch [link to contact], I would love to help if I can.

“Your body can stand almost anything.  It’s your mind that you have to convince.”