Performance depends on more than just physical ability and expertise. It also requires a great deal of mental toughness. The ability to be mentally prepared to carry out your goals, whether they are competitive or personal, plays a tremendous role in the overall outcome of your performance. Training and competing for events requires strong mental strength and prowess that can only be reached with time, and effort. If you’re looking to break away from normal, and hope to achieve your goals and dreams, you have to start training your mind NOW!
As a life coach, I wouldn’t be able to help any of you without my own degree of mental toughness. In this blog, I’ll cover some tips and tricks used by Olympic athletes that’ll help you become mentally tough and ready to face your challenges and weaknesses. The Huffington post recently covered some tips that athletes use to tune out distractions, reduce stress and anxiety, and build the focus and stamina needed to develop a strong mental foundation. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an athlete to practice mental strength; these tips and tricks can be used in all aspects of your life.
1. Control the voice in your head through daily meditation
No, we’re not advocating for you to talk to yourself in public, just in private. The voice in your head, or your inner monologue, can sometimes create fear and self-doubt before taking on major tasks. Make an effort to control the rhetoric you give to yourself, ensuring that it’s positive and constructive, rather than negative and defeating. Instructional or motivational self-speak can give you a serious advantage over others who are self-defeating, despite their talents or experiences. Keep in mind what famous sports psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis had to say: “The mind guides action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, than this can guide our behavior.”
A great method to tune out distractions and clear your mind from all of the extra baggage weighing you down is meditating. This technique helps you build mental strength and focus. Everyone knows the benefits of doing yoga and meditation, as they’re exercises that help both the physical being, as well as the conscious one. More and more today, athletes are practicing meditative techniques before major competitions and events. Meditation can improve an individual’s mental game by reducing stress, increasing attention and focus, and promoting emotional well-being.
The third technique athletes use to mentally prepare for a competition is visualization. Visualization is seeing yourself competing, hurdle by hurdle, and finally winning your race. You have to imagine yourself on the podium, but you must also see yourself doing everything correctly in order to get there. This helps you, the individual, become more comfortable and familiar with the challenges ahead, allowing you to build mental strength through experience and stamina.
3. Find your Flow
As the article in the Huffington Post would define, flow is “a mental state in which the individual transcends conscious thought and achieves a heightened state of effortless and unwavering concentration, calm and confidence”. Without much thinking, over-thinking, strategy, or doubt, athletes can find their “zone” and perform, or outperform without much effort. Confidence is your own abilities is key to finding your zone, and controlling the message you are sending. Flow comes from within, and can have the capability of omitting itself externally onto others. The mechanical nature of flow can make anything easy, whether it’s reading, writing, cooking, exercising, or even learning. Learn to find your flow, and you will always perform to outperform.
These techniques can all help you find the chinks in your armor, and address the weaknesses in your own mental game. Imagine picking yourself back up after a failure or a struggle, and continuing on with the task at hand. This is mental toughness at it’s finest. By visualizing your goals, controlling the voice in your head, and finding your flow, you will surely break down any mental barriers that come your way. Check my blog for more info on how to stay mentally tough and achieve your goals.