When you have a fitness goal, it’s important you can visualize yourself reaching it, no matter how ambitious it is. But what happens when that goes out the window? Saying “I will” rather than “I believe I will” is a very powerful step in the right direction to achieving your goals.
To cement that thought process into your habits, use these five powerful mental techniques for continual improvement.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Just don't do it. Compare yourself to number one - you. If you're better than you were last week, last month or last year, then you're winning.
2. Eliminate self-doubt and negative thinking
A positive attitude instills confidence, self-esteem, and drive. Not to mention, it's better for your overall well-being. Negative thinking, if persistent, can cause us to stress and become run down–both of which can hold you back from hitting that PR. Have a positive mantra that you believe in and remind yourself of it daily.
3. Practice patience
Think of this journey as a chance to create a new you. Change is good, and the fact you want to make changes proves that you will be proud of what’s to come. You are going to be able to say "I did it cause I wanted it, I deserve it because I set the goal and crushed it". Remember to exercise patience - transforming yourself takes baby steps and the result of all your hard work won't be immediately apparent, but rather it'll snowball after the consistent action.
4. Write down self-sabotaging behaviors
The biggest obstacle to overcome lies within you. If excuses or negative behaviors have stopped you from reaching your PR before, write down 5-10 reasons why you stopped last time. Look at them often to remind yourself where you went wrong.
Next, decide exactly what you want to achieve; write this above your list of excuses if you have to. This will help keep your motivation strong, both in the first few weeks and in perpetuity.
Don’t be unadventurous about your desires, either, because people who set conservative goals have a harder time achieving satisfaction than those who set ambitious goals, found a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. So, make your endgame a prize worth fighting for.
5. Do the work
Being fit for a competition is one thing, but being mentally capable of performing when it matters is a chain of sports psychology that’s red hot in the sphere of professional sports. Everyone who’s ever been a member of a club has known an athlete who excels in training, yet blows it when it truly matters.
According to Dr. Jim Loehr, author of The New Toughness Training for Sports and chairman of the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida, mental toughness is, "the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances."
So, what can help? Cutting corners is nothing but a fast track to failure. Hours working towards your PR and honesty in a competition are the key to a healthy mind, body, and spirit. When you prepare the right way, then you can compete with a clear conscious and 100% confidence.
Furthermore, be capable of bouncing back. Being able to learn from mistakes and push forward from a defeat is what separates the good from the great. Developing thick skin is the prerequisite of any successful PR.