Now that we are all on a good start to the new year, working out, eating well, enjoying our new found or reinforced positive health habits, how do we keep this gig going? In fact, what is the difference between an Olympic athlete who must constantly reinvent and inspire themselves, and us? It’s our self-talk. You can think like a real champion even if you never compete in an Olympic Game, or in any competition for that matter. What helps an elite athlete succeed can also help all of us succeed, in sports or in life. The answer lies in six factors that apply to all of us.
Self-analysis-Take an objective look at yourself, consider both your strengths and your weaknesses. Be honest, but not negative. Negativity will deflate your motivation. You just want to think about what needs to be done differently or better and examine what works well and what doesn’t.
Self-competition-The only person you can ever improve is yourself. Oftentimes an athlete who wins a competition does not ask “Did I win,” (he/she usually knows that anyway) but “How did I do?” Strive to be a little better each time. Are you swimming thirty minutes a day? Stretch it to forty minutes for a week or more. Add some stretching before or afterwards. Reasonable increments of improvement are manageable. An all or nothing attitude will defeat you before you even start.
Focus-Stay in the moment. It serves no purpose to overwhelm yourself with the magnitude of all that you need to do to fulfill your fitness goals. Anytime you step onto the treadmill, into the pool, into the weight room, you’re fulfilling your goal of becoming a better, healthier you. Congratulate yourself on that. Champions start with one day at a time as well.
Confidence-You will be more confident in fulfilling your health and fitness goals when you practice the new habits so much that they become routine. You won’t have this ongoing battle with yourself to lift weights, to do the stair walker or to ride the stationary bike if you make it a routine. Sometimes it helps to just disengage the mind and let the body take you where you need to go.
Toughness-This is a mental trait that understands the necessity of commitment, sees change as an opportunity and believes that he or she controls their own destiny. Believe in yourself. Athletes are self-creations and they had to learn to believe in themselves as well, oftentimes through considerable amounts of failure. Ride on. We all make mistakes or have down days. It’s just part of the deal.
Plan-To accomplish anything, you need to create a road map, compile a to-do list, construct an outline, establish some way or means of how you are going to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. If you don’t know where or how you’re going somewhere, you probably won’t get there either. Map it out.
Most of all, be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey. Fitness is a path and not a final destination.