Three star athletes weigh in on the goal-setting trend

Photography by Stefania Yarhi at the Thompson Toronto

Setting five-, 10- and 15-year goals can be intimidating. Who decided that big numbers were the most conducive to successful goal setting, anyways? #3YearGoals is challenging this status quo by putting forth the idea that planning in three-year intervals, as opposed to five, is a strategy better suited to the fast-paced lifestyles of modern millennial women. Dr. Christine Palmay, Women’s Health Expert and ambassador for the #3YearGoals program by Bayer Inc., says: “When we look at a three-year plan, one of the most important steps is identifying barriers that could get in the way of our goals and making sure we overcome or avoid them.” According to a survey of millennial women commissioned by the company, losing your job, an economic downturn or unintended pregnancy were the most commonly cited barriers to goal achievement. Bottom line? “Keeping on track to make sure nothing gets in the way of visualizing the end-goal—whatever that goal is—is key,” says Palmay, referencing the Olympic moguls skiing trio of Dufour-Lapointe sisters, who swept the podium at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in January, as prime examples of this mindset.

Bayer has teamed up with the trio of Justine (21 years-old), Chloé (24) and Maxime (27) to inspire women across the country to adopt this new approach to goal visualization. We caught up with the stylish sisters at the Thompson Hotel last week (International Women’s Day, as it were) to talk about training for the Winter Olympics in South Korea (their #3YearGoals), handling pre-run nerves, and their love of Marc Jacobs and Coco Chanel.

Goal setting has undoubtedly become a health trend recently, with people documenting their journeys toward achieving them with things like the Nike running app and #MotivationMonday hashtag. Why do you think that setting goals in a three-year versus five-year context works better in the world of today?

Maxime: Five years can be overwhelming. Maybe it’s because it’s [more than] the entire time of going to high school. From the first year to when you finish, you’re a totally different person. Three years seems more attainable and realistic. You can break that [three-year] goal into smaller steps.

How do you approach tackling a big goal—like, say, competing in the Olympics?

Justine: Celebrating every step of the way is one of the things I’ve learned. For us, it’s every podium, every success, every new jump. You have to celebrate it and cheer yourself on. I’m proud of myself! Don’t be shy about saying it out loud. It makes you feel closer to your main goal. You see where you are. I’ve done that and I have that much left to do. That’s an achievement.

Chloé: When we’re in training camp, we have blocks of three days. Every block, I’ll set a goal. I’ll say, “I’m going to make my landing more clean today.” It’s just a little something, but at the end of the day, I’ll put a note in my book, so you can look back and say, “Oh, yeah. I did that!

Do you use any other tactics like meditating or visualization?

Chloé: Breathing in and out, focusing on your heart rate.

Justine: Pushing your belly in and out deeply can really relax you. At first, use your hands to feel your belly going up and down.

Do you have a ritual before you go out of the gate?

Justine: I’ll say my three C’s to myself. It’s clear—I know what I’ve got to do. I’ve trained. I’m calm. I’m serene, I’m in the moment, I’m breathing right. I’m in control. This is my moment. I take control.

Do you optimize other areas of your life to help and support your goals?

Maxime: Our vision of health and happiness is a global perspective. Right now, skiing is our number one priority. There are other parts in our lives that are important to make us feel good so that when we’re skiing, we can focus on skiing. When achieving goals, you need to set your priorities, but things don’t need to disappear. They’re just going to have a lower importance. You still need to take care of them.

Talking about a global view, it seemed like people were really against setting New Years resolutions this year, because they want them to be part of their lifestyle instead.

Chloé: Just because it’s the New Year, it doesn’t mean you have to have a resolution. If you have a goal, you can start anytime of the year. But you can’t just make a goal and have it happen; you need a plan. You need to commit and be serious about it.

Maxime: I think saying your goals [out loud] is always scary. What happens if I fail? What I’ve learned from mogul skiing is that there’s no failure. If you care enough about the goal you’ve set for yourself, when you’re trying to achieve it and one way doesn’t work, you pick yourself back up and say, “What else can I do?” Failures are just as important as wins. You learn more when you make mistakes.

Chloé, I know you went to school for fashion and that you styled you and your sisters for today’s shoot. Tell me a little bit about your personal styles.

Chloé: Justine is more modern. Maxime is really more classic. I’m more of the romantic one—lace, white, a lot of flowers. They’re sick of me wearing flowers and stripes. I really like Chanel because I love the story of Coco Chanel.

Justine: Marc Jacobs is more my style.

Chloé: When we travel and have time, I like to find pieces that nobody will have here. It’s just the little details that make the difference for me. After training, we dress up and do our makeup. On our day off, we take photos in the city [we’re currently in].

Maxime: We don’t always wear sweatpants! [And when we do], we want to find the most stylish sweatpants you can wear.

What inspires you to keep going?

Justine: It’s the feeling of achieving something—it’s so powerful. Just thinking about Sochi makes me smile. It’s what makes me think, “Let’s sweat a little bit more. That much effort might bring me that feeling again.” I just want more. You want more after you achieve one goal.

Chloé: It makes you evolve and grow. You see something in yourself that you might not see if you stayed in your comfort zone.

Maxime: I put myself in challenging positions every day. It’s the quest of becoming a better person. This is something I didn’t think I could do and I proved myself wrong. I like to prove to myself that I can do something even if it scares me. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing, but I keep pushing. Every time, I’m amazed at what I accomplish along the road.