I like to read how ordinary people achieve extraordinary goals by making the most out of their day. They often provide a perspective and practical tips that are very relevant when used in the context of every day life.
In this post I feature an account by athlete Adair Lydens who describes the importance of mindset in her preparation and performance.
The mind is the most important muscle; it controls the rest of you. Practice mental strength as you would practice your physical strength; this is how you will experience breakthrough. Find beauty and appreciation for the whole process.
We do a sport that is not easy all the time, that’s what makes both the victories and the trials and tribulations so great. It isn’t a simple stroll through the park. It’s a 10-mile hike up a mountain, but you get to the top and the view is awesome.
She adds 4 useful tips
1) Realise You Are More Than The “Athlete”
Adair describes the danger of spending so much time dedicated to one area of your life is that it can easily become your identity. It is who you are. For Adair it is being an athlete – for most of us it is being a “worker bee” on the job for 50 hours or more a week.
She asks what happens when this identity is stripped? What happens when injury, or your health or losing your job gets in the way of your goals? You might have an identity crisis.
“There is more to who you are than just this sport. When you’re able to acknowledge the whole you, the athlete will get better,”
Ask yourself this question: Outside of the sport, what gives you joy? This could mean finding an identity in your family, friends, or school. When sport isn’t the only thing you find confidence in, the process becomes more enjoyable and you can begin to discover what it is you want out of the sport itself.
I’ve learned more about what I want out of the sport. I’m not just running to hit these times or gain this title, I’m running for the mental toughness that it brings and for the relationships it builds.”
Place your identity in other areas of your life. You are more than just the “athlete.”
This is very relevant to everyday work – ensure that you achieve a balance as this helps your mental as well as physical wellbeing.
2) Stay Consistent Through Adversity
You know that consistency in physical training is important. It’s cumulative; consistency builds on itself. The same goes with mental training; the two go hand-in-hand.
Often times you can put pressure on yourself to the point where the workout seems impossible and you just want to shut down.
“You have to tell yourself, ‘It’s okay, there is no pressure here,” “You have to make the run or workout positive, so tell yourself: ‘I get to go run,’ rather than ‘I have to go run.”
When you can change your mentality behind the workout, it makes the split-second decision to go for your goals very simple.
3) Develop Perspective
It is easy to become consumed with the struggles you are facing. When you are wrestling with certain issues, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
To succeed through this struggle, walk yourself up to the bigger picture. Yes, you are going through a difficult time, but what can you do in this moment? What do you have control over now?
If you have any adversity or if you think it’s over, just be consistent. Get to the next day and then the next. You have to believe in yourself.
Not all journeys will follow a straight path. If you can stay consistent through adversity and develop perspective for your own personal journey, you will find an appreciation for the experience you are going through.
4) Use Positive Self Talk To Help You Succeed
The little voice in your head can consume you with fears – fear of failure, or fear of success and give you performance anxiety?
It can hinder your pursuit towards your goals.
You have to become your own best friend. Ask yourself what you would like to hear. If your coach or best friend was at the finish line, what would you like them to say to you? Take these positive words as ammunition and combat the negativity in your head.
“I would always compare myself to others and I think it’s really important for us to just focus on ourselves. We need to realize that what we are doing or what we are not doing is what will work for us,”
When you can create a positive ethos, it frees your body to perform at its highest level and allows you to focus on you, and less of what you perceive others to want from you.