It’s been said that sports are 90% mental (and the other half is physical, at least for baseball, according to Yogi Berra). As I progress towards my dotage, I believe in this more every day. If you think you can or can’t, you’re right. Mark Allen, the many-time Ironman champion, says that his success was purely mental, as the athletes he faced were superior physically to him. Maybe or maybe not, but mental barriers are often all that stand between you and success. There are some common roadblocks on the road to success and simple ways to overcome them.
- Roadblock #1 - You don't understand willpower. Most people think willpower is just a matter of deciding to be strong. However, If your goals require any sort of long-term commitment, you can't muscle through on willpower alone. Think of it this way: A breakthrough is not just about will. It's also about skill.
- Roadblock #2 - You think you can run out of willpower. Willpower is limited only for people who believe that it's limited. To overcome this, you can adopt a growth mindset—and the shift is simply a matter of self-awareness. You can teach yourself to see struggle and failure as an opportunity for growth, not as a confirmation of the futility of even trying.
- Roadblock #3 - You have a bad coach: yourself. Just as a bad coach belittles you, you may belittle yourself. The self-determination theory of motivation states that you're far more likely to complete a task if your motivation is intrinsic. If someone or something is pushing from the outside—a boss or a coach or a reason like I need to lose weight for my reunion—you'll stop performing as soon as the pressure lets up.
- Roadblock #4 - You're not having fun (yet). Many think self-improvement is a tough slog. According to self-determination theory, we're optimally motivated when we have three things going for us: autonomy, mastery, and social support.
- Roadblock #5 - You try to do too much too soon. What we know from motivation science is that a series of small successes will hook you into an activity. Start small and watch your progress accrue.
- Roadblock #6 - You're talking to yourself—and saying the wrong things. Replace the chatter in your head with something a little more helpful. It's called self-talk. When you're faced with a difficult task, why not say 'I can do anything,' rather than beat yourself up? Experiments have shown that positive self-talk improves performance in everything from dart throwing to the 100-meter dash. There are two types of self-talk:
- Instructional - helps maintain focus ("see the target") and execute proper technique ("midfoot strike").
- Motivational - works best in sports requiring strength and endurance ("I can do this!").
Pretty simple and this sort of mental training does work. Just ask Mark Allen.
Source: Men's Health
Have a great weekend all!
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