Body and mind
Sport Psychology, though not new, in theory has gained widespread practice in the past two decades. Today’s athletes and teams at all levels employ professional sports psychologists to assist in the acquisition of both fine and gross motor skills and to achieve the highest mental focus and self-confidence levels necessary to optimize physical performance.
An Eye on the End Game
A wise man, maybe it was Yogi Berra, once said “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” To translate: without a goal, dream or purpose in your life you are adrift in a massive ocean in a boat without a sail or a rudder. With no end game in mind, millions of humans stumble through careers, diets, relationships and leisure time resulting in mediocre income, poor health, loneliness, and boredom.
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. – Napoleon Hill
The Power of Thought is immeasurably critical in the development of human behavior. Thinking about what one wants leads to an autonomic response. The thought of food may cause hunger pains or salivation, for example. Consciously bringing forth into the forefront of your mind an item one desires will set in motion both conscious and unconscious brain activity designed to help guide you in your quest. Having this goal or purpose in your thoughts lends focus to one’s actions. Philosophers, religious teachers, business authors and athletic coaches have known and preached about the secret of achievement for thousands of years yet only a small percentage of 21st century humans have learned or applied this secret to their daily lives. The simple act of thinking about something you want to acquire or want to achieve sets your mind in motion to figure out a path to do so.
If you have had success in any area of your life, it likely can be said that preparation met opportunity. One quality necessary for success is having that “definiteness of purpose”, that is, the knowledge of what one wants and developing a burning desire to possess or achieve it.
Have you ever wanted something so badly that your heart actually hurt? A new car, or a new home, for example? If you wanted it badly enough, you probably put a plan together to satisfy your desire. Maybe you got a second job or sacrificed immediate gratification like a five dollar latte every morning to save your money. Because you wanted it so badly, you automatically started behaving in a way that would help you acquire it.
Preparing for success in sports takes more than long hours in the gym, on the track, court or field – it requires formulating your goals (consciously thinking about what you want to achieve). There are several important steps you must take in setting your goals in order to trigger the desired behavioral response.
Goal-setting is easy if you follow these simple, but important, steps:
- Make your goal as specific as possible or Measurable.
Saying to yourself: I want to be slimmer, stronger or richer will not trigger behavioral change. You must be definite in your goals. For example, stating “I want to weigh ___lbs.” or “I want to be able to squat or bench ___lbs., or even “I want to have $____.00 in the bank” (plug in your own numbers) are definitive, measurable goals.
- Make the goal challenging but Attainable.
It is critical to your success that you set lofty goals so that you are stretching yourself, but reasonable enough so you do not become frustrated with failure of what is improbable. If you are a 175lb strength athlete, for example, you might set a challenging goal to bench press 1.5 times your body weight (BW), then after accomplishing that resetting to 300lbs, then even 2X or 3X BW. However, setting an initial goal of say 700lbs would likely just lead to failure and discouragement.
- Set a definite but realistic Timeframe for achieving your goal.
Give yourself enough time to work your plan but not so long that you procrastinate the plan’s implementation. Write down a definitive date on which you plan to achieve your goals.
- Put together a Plan for success.
Write your goals down and keep them in a convenient place so you can review them daily. Keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind is key to keeping you on track. Lay out a ‘step-by-step’ plan to guide yourself. The plan should include daily, weekly, monthly, and annual actions that you will take in pursuit of your goal(s). Write your plan down, keep them with your written goals and refer to them daily to be sure you are behaving according to your plan.
- Picture yourself as already in possession of the goal.
You must develop a belief mechanism in order for goal-setting to function properly. If you don’t believe-you won’t achieve. Mental imagery is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Take a second right now to picture yourself already in possession of/performing the goal. If you set a weight loss goal, for example, picture yourself at your perfect body weight. We will delve into this technique in detail in future articles.
- Develop a burning Desire.
The difference often times between those who succeed and those who do not is the passion of the goal-setter. Some people only make a wish, cross their fingers and hope it comes true. In the world of successful people, however, you will find that they have developed a burning desire to achieve their goal and will not give up or be deterred until it is achieved. Also-rans give up at the first sign of failure or setback, but the champion will not be denied. He or she will push through injury, minor setbacks or failure until the goal is achieved because of their unrelenting desire for accomplishment.
- Share your goal only within your Circle of Trust.
Be careful to share your goal(s) only with those who truly share your beliefs. A simple comment by a spouse or friend such as “I’d still be proud of you if you just did half of that” may undermine your belief system or erode your passion.
Are you ready to improve and change your life? If so, don’t procrastinate another minute. Take the time right now to start thinking your way to success. Envision your new self, write down measurable, challenging, time-certain goals. Next, write down your daily/weekly/annual plan. Remind yourself everyday how much you want it. See yourself as already having achieved the goal in order to solidify your belief system, then share it only with your Inner Circle-the people you know believe in you. If you don’t have someone, you can share it with me because I believe that ‘whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve’.