Posted on Friday 28th June, 2024

Setting Goals: A Journey of Resilience & Triumph Over MS

Introduction to Lisa Trendle

We are pleased to introduce Lisa Trendle, a dedicated Masters swimmer with a remarkable story. Lisa began her journey with River City Masters in 2003 and joined Brisbane Southside Masters in 2005. With over 21 years of experience in Masters Swimming Queensland, Lisa is an inspiring figure in our community.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) nearly 23 years ago, Lisa swims under the S9 classification due to her condition. MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, causing communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibres, which can eventually cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerve fibres.

Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely between patients and depend on the location and severity of nerve fibre damage in the central nervous system. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or ambulate at all. Other individuals may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms, depending on the type of MS they have. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are treatments to help speed the recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage symptoms.

Lisa has lived with MS for over 32 years. She took up swimming to prove to herself that she could still swim with MS and that MS did not have her. MS affects her swimming by causing fatigue, slight paralysis on one side, and a lack of sensation in part of her body. It’s amazing she can still kick, thanks to muscle memory. Swimming allows normality in her life and enables her to participate in an activity that others can. She did not want to be left behind because of MS, and Masters Swimming Queensland can take you anywhere you want to go with your swimming.

Lisa is a fantastic MS Ambassador who lives positively with MS. She competes in the Queensland State Swimming Championships and has won 6 golden medals. Referred to as a trailblazer for her club and for others with disabilities, Lisa encourages many to get classified and compete.

Lisa’s journey with MS has taught her valuable life lessons, and today, she shares her insights on goal setting. Her experience and wisdom offer inspiration and practical advice for anyone facing obstacles in their lives. Here’s Lisa’s article on setting goals, filled with personal anecdotes and motivational tips.

Setting Goals: Insights from Lisa Trendle

I thought I’d impart some of the knowledge and wisdom learned along the way in my MS journey. I thought I’d kick it off by talking about goal setting, not that I’m an expert by any means, but it’s one of many life lessons learned along the way.

If only I knew at the time of my MS diagnosis what I now know, life would certainly have been much simpler.

The quote “Fall seven times, stand up eight” could indeed refer to myself. Every time I put on a particular work uniform, down I’d go and fall on the carpet floor. After the second or third episode, it was not much fun.

My advice is, if you have fallen short of what it is you want to do, is to dust yourself off so to speak, regroup, and get back to the path of your dream, because it will be worth it.

At the time I was diagnosed, I felt I was in ‘no-man’s-land’ with no real direction to head towards. Fast forward almost 18 years, a hive of knowledge and wisdom, and a few goals of my own achieved.

“No man is happy without a goal and no man can be happy without faith in his own ability to reach that goal.” — L. Ron Hubbard.

This is why I’d like to share some information about goals. The simple principle of goal setting is the acronym SMART:

S – Simple, M – Measurable, A – Achievable, R – Realistic, T – Target


  • First things first, set your goal.
  • Write it down, stick up notes, tell your support network.
  • By keeping it simple, you can work out little baby steps to set you on your way.
  • Work backwards from your goal (for me, i.e., 6 weeks until race day).
  • Write out a plan (in my case, training sessions for 6 weeks, including mock races, sprints, and practice every race I’ve entered for race day, including dives, starts, finishes, turns, etc.).


  • Have tiny steps to your goal.
  • Say, 2-3 weeks in, see how far you have come and what you need to get yourself there.
  • Keep working on your goal and step up to the next level to get you there, whatever it may be – and only if you need to.
  • Remember! Less is more, and listen to your body.


  • Make your goal achievable.
  • Breathe, sleep, eat, and feel it – hunger for the success of the goal outcome.
  • Don’t put added pressure on yourself – if at first you do not succeed, try again.
  • We are only human, and sometimes external factors are beyond our control and hinder our progress, i.e., lack of rest/sleep, we may have not fueled our body correctly, we may have set the bar just a tad too high this time, or our MS may have flared up.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something out of the ‘norm’.


  • Is it realistic?
  • Nothing worth going for is ever easy, but it’s worth it. I promise.
  • It gives you drive and hunger to want to do better and accomplish what it is that we wanted to achieve.
  • Yes, we have MS, but we are a unique breed and seem to move mountains to get to where we are going, and I’ve met a few of you over the years and continue to be inspired by what you have achieved.


  • Mission accomplished.
  • You did it.
  • Be proud of who you are and what you have achieved.
  • Savour the moment.
  • Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do something.
  • It may not be the ‘normal/conventional’ way to do it, but with some adaptation, it can be done.

Finally, self-belief is an incredible gift we can give to ourselves. Remember, you are ‘BUF’ – Beautiful, Unstoppable, Fearless, and ‘FEAR’ is simply – Feel Everything And Rise.