Polar Athlete Annie Thorisdottir, the ‘Fittest Woman on Earth’, reminds us that even though dreaming is important, it’s not enough. To turn your dreams into reality, you need to plan, set goals and, of course, take action.
Dreaming is important, but not enough.
Here’s how Thorisdottir did it (and is still doing it) and encourages all athletes not to give up on their dreams.
Evolve your dreams
Annie Thorisdottir had (and still has) more than one dream.
“I’ve always had and will continue to have several dreams because they push me forward,” Thorisdottir says. “My dreams also evolve and change over time. Once I achieve one dream, I develop it further and think where I can go next or what I can do more. Or I set out to pursue another dream.”
Initially, her dream was kind of vague: To be the best at something.
Initially, her dream was kind of vague: To be the best at something. Then that vague idea gradually evolved into something that may sound a little over the top or even surreal.
“I wanted to be the best at CrossFit and win the title of the ‘Fittest Woman on Earth’.”
I wanted to be the best version of me that I could possibly be.
After she won the title, she wanted to do it again. After she had won the title twice, she felt like she still had room for improvement in CrossFit and her dream evolved again: “I wanted to be the best version of me that I could possibly be.”
Now, her dream is to reach and inspire as many people as possible to change their lives, enjoy exercising and become healthier.
“It’s my dream to be a good role model for younger people, encourage them to believe in themselves and to not be afraid to follow their dreams. After all, my (initially vague) dream got me where I am today,” Thorisdottir says.
Dreaming is not enough
“There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, just as long as you understand you need to put in hard work to make things happen. Also, it’s key to have the right people around you to help and support you,” Thorisdottir explains.
My roadmap included mini dreams and goals that lead up to my ultimate goal.
“My roadmap included mini dreams and goals that lead up to my ultimate goal. The milestones along the way were, for example, weight lifting competitions or just to snatch 85 or 90 kilos and to run a mile in a certain pace,” Thorisdottir says.
“CrossFit is such a versatile and goal-oriented sport that it’s easy to find and set new goals and define indicators to see progress.”
Passion is the fuel for dreams
What helped Annie Thorisdottir to achieve her dream was passion.
I’ve always enjoyed challenges so one of the best ways to get me going is to say I can’t do something.
“I’ve always been passionate about training and eager to test my limits. I’ve always enjoyed challenges so one of the best ways to get me going is to say I can’t do something. That’s a sure way to get me to put all my effort into that challenge, just to prove that I can.”
People did doubt her in the beginning of her CrossFit career and many thought she made the wrong decision giving up her plan to apply to med school to train for the Olympics instead. But she was determined to prove them wrong.
“I don’t go into anything with half asset, I give it my all,” Annie says.
Even before CrossFit, she would sign up for crazy challenges, like a 55K ultra marathon and a mountain run.
“I was training with runners who said I couldn’t do it because running wasn’t my main discipline – so I went ahead and did it!”
the best is yet to come
She’s determined, she’s fierce, but for a reason – it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows with a path of rose petals leading up to her dream.
She’s had to face some tough obstacles, like all of us.
“My first event in 2011 was difficult because I was terrified of mass starts. I overcame that challenge mentally with the help of the amazing group of people around me: my coach Frederik Aegidius and my parents have supported me from the very beginning,” Annie says.
“My biggest obstacle was back injury, a bulged out disc and bad nerve damage, in 2013. It took me like a year before I was able to compete again and the doctor said I would never recover 100%. I didn’t realize how important CrossFit, training and competing was to me until that happened.”
In a way, getting injured was a blessing for Annie.
In a way, getting injured was a blessing for Annie because it made her realize how much she loved CrossFit and that she just had to make it back, no matter what.
What kept me going was that I wanted to show people with similar struggles that it’s possible.
“What kept me going was that I wanted to show people with similar struggles that it’s possible. I wanted to be a role model and show them you can achieve your goal and get through hardships.
I have more in me and I know I can get stronger and run faster.
And she made it back to show herself and everyone else that she still has ambition and more to give.
“I feel like I still haven’t peaked. I have more in me and I know I can get stronger and run faster. I have small gaps in my training that leave room for improvement. I’m not yet the best version of myself – but I will be!”
Hold on to your dream
We all face adversities and experience setbacks on our way to success but the key to work through them is to find what drives and motivates you and keep on developing and strengthening that.
“I’m motivated by challenges and driven by the need to grow. I believe that I can continue to get better and I have so many things I can continue to work on,” Thorisdottir says.
Bottom line: find your ‘why’ and cherish it, nurture it, feed it and you can achieve anything.
Bottom line: find your ‘why’ and cherish it, nurture it, feed it and you can achieve anything. Just make sure your motivation comes from within you and is based on your values: internal motivation is always stronger than external.
“People often ask me for how long I’m going to keep doing CrossFit and I like to say: As long as it takes,” Thorisdottir says. “I take it one year at a time and as long as I do what I love and feel passionate about, and I have more to give, I’m going to keep at it.”
But she knows it’s not forever, like nothing is. Right now she’s an athlete, but that’s not all she is, or ever will be. That’s why her dream of becoming a doctor someday is not buried either – it’s just on hold for now.
Who knows what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure – we should keep dreaming!
If you have a dream, see how to turn it into reality: Sign up for a 4-episode video series with pro triathlete Tim Don who talks you through the process of goal setting from dreaming all the way to reaching your goal. If you don’t know who Tim Don is, it’ll be worth your while to find out and get inspired (even if you’re not a triathlete)!
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.