Ten tips on how to achieve without limits

(ARA) – Are you ready to take on a new challenge? Whether training for an athletic competition, growing a business or helping your community, you can be inspired by U.S. Paralympic athletes who’ve excelled at the highest level.

For these world-class competitors with physical disabilities, anything is possible. As part of The Hartford’s Achieve Without Limits campaign, they share tips on setting and achieving goals:

1. Believe in yourself. “A dream will always be a dream, unless you believe you deserve it and can achieve it,” says Jeff Glasbrenner, a triathlete told by doctors that he’d no longer play sports after a farming accident when he was 8 years old.

2. Set goals and game plan. “Set short-term goals as stepping stones to larger, long-term goals. Remember, your job isn’t finished once you’ve accomplished one goal. Keep re-setting to meet the next challenge,” says Josh George, a gold medal-winning wheelchair racer and marathon winner.

3. Consistency is key. “Each and every day stay passionate. You need to make time for yourself each day to make the dream a reality,” says Glasbrenner, who is also a U.S. Paralympic wheelchair basketball player. To stay on track, try “the excuse converter” on The Hartford’s Facebook page.

4. Carry a message to motivate you. Inspiring messages help keep you energized. U.S. Paralympic curler and cancer survivor Augusto Perez carries a note that reads, “Somewhere somebody is training harder than you.”

5. Assess and adjust your game plan. “There are multiple pathways to get from point A to point B. Have an open mind and be willing to tweak your plan,” says Anjali Forber-Pratt, a wheelchair racer who medaled at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

6. Don’t go it alone. Mentors, family, friends and teammates can help you stay focused. When she’s not training with the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team, U.S. Paralympian Caitlin Sarrubi works out with the ski team at Harvard University. “Sticking to a routine is a key to success,” she says.

7. Stay positive. Nobody is perfect, not even world-class athletes. “It may be a bad day, but you have to let it go. Don’t tell yourself negative things because those negatives will become reality,” says Jessica Galli, a U.S. Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair racing.

8. Take a break. “Sometimes you can be so focused on training and your goals that you dig yourself into a big hole. I always take a breather and then come back more focused than before,” says Ron Williams, a cancer survivor and silver medal-winning U.S. Paralympic cyclist.

9. Make others a partner in your success. Negotiate for your priorities. “Explain your situation and find ways to work together to make it possible,” says Forber-Pratt, who worked with her professors to balance course work and training. Now working on her doctorate, she graduated in the top 3 percent of her undergraduate class and won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

10. Celebrate successes – small and large. “Take time to celebrate even the smallest steps forward. Even if you didn’t reach your accomplishment, such as winning a race, look for improvement,” says Sam Kavanagh, an avalanche survivor and world champion cyclist who is featured in The Hartford’s “excuse converter.”

As a founding partner of U.S. Paralympics, The Hartford is providing opportunities for U.S. Paralympians and hopefuls to inspire others with their stories of overcoming obstacles to achieve greatness. To learn more about these elite athletes, visit The Hartford’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/TheHartford.