Record-breaker Ellie Simmonds knows the significance of focusing on a goal – she shares why her motivation is all between the ears and her latest summer target

To celebrate the launch of #MySummerGoal, we’ve teamed up with five-time Paralympic champion Ellie to find out her tips on staying driven and her latest personal goal.

Watch the video here or read Ellie’s story below.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“The extra mile is between the ears.” My coach Lars Humer gave me a T-shirt with this on it when I was 11 and whenever things are tough, I try to think of that. One of the hardest things in life is finding the motivation and that’s something everyone, no matter what they do, has to contend with.

What’s been your most memorable moment?

My 400m freestyle in London 2012. I went into the race very nervous and I remember the crowd – 17-and-a-half thousand people – lighting up when I got announced. I can still hear the roar now. I’ll never forget the moment when I finished and I saw that I’d won.

What’s your #MySummerGoal?

When it comes to swimming, I want to better each stroke and focus on the finer details. But I also want to make the best of every opportunity and just say yes more.

How do you plan on achieving that?

To keep on track, I’ll break these aspects down into smaller goals. This makes it easier to achieve your longer-term targets.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

When I first saw Nyree Lewis competing in the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, I felt so inspired. I knew right then I wanted to be a swimmer. I remember asking mum what I needed to do to compete and she said, “You’ve just got to be the best swimmer you can be.” More recently, Michael Phelps is an absolute inspiration of mine. He’s a fantastic swimmer and a lovely person. I met him at BBC Sports Personality of the Year and I was so starstruck – I even asked for a photo with him.

How do you stay motivated when you feel like you’re having a wobble?

I keep reminding myself that I want to fulfil my dream and try not to lose sight of my objective. I also remember the feeling of standing on the podium receiving a gold medal. There’s no other feeling like it in the world.

How do you reward yourself when you achieve something?

I’ll treat myself to my favourite food after a big competition – I love baking cakes and scones. I just treated myself to a year off to catch up on some of the things that I’ve missed over the last 10 years, and I’ve travelled a lot.

How do you keep the momentum going?

By setting new targets, goals and dreams and by re-evaluating what I want out of life. We all change as we get older and so do your ambitions and interests. The day I don’t have that drive is the day I stop swimming.

Feeling inspired to set your own goal? Sign up now at mysummergoal.co.uk to make your summer active pledge. You could be in with the chance of winning prizes every week and you’ll receive exclusive motivational tips and support from Ellie Simmonds, Jess Ennis-Hill, Joe Root, Jonny Wilkinson and Stanley.

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