Training your mind like an Olympian

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When it comes to training like an Olympic athlete, it’s important to not only train your body, but your mind as well. Even though the 2016 Olympics have come to a close, we know just how important it is to continue building mental fitness after two weeks of intense competition. While a strong mind may not win the competition, a weak one will surely lose.

Since it’s all about mind over matter, let’s chat and chew about nine ways to start training your head while working on your physical fitness.

  1. Attitude
  • Think and act in a positive manner.
  • View sport as an opportunity to compete against yourself and learn from successes and failures.
  • Pursue excellence, not perfection.
  • Maintain balance and perspective between sports and your life.
  1. Motivation
  • Work through difficult tasks and difficult times, even when rewards and benefits are not immediate.
  • Understand that many benefits are a result of participation, not the outcome.
  1. Goals and Commitment
  • Set long-term and short-term goals that are realistic, measurable, and time-oriented.
  • Familiarize yourself with current performance levels and develop specific plans for reaching your goals.
  • Finish your daily training programs, no matter how difficult they may be on your mind and body.
  1. People Skills
  • Realize you are part of a larger system that includes your families, friends, teammates, coaches, and others.
  • When appropriate, communicate your thoughts, feelings, and needs to these people and listen to them as well.
  • Teach yourself how to deal with conflict, difficult opponents, and other people when they are negative or oppositional.
  1. Self-Talk
  • Maintain your self-confidence during difficult times with realistic, positive self-talk.
  • Use self-talk to regulate thoughts, feelings and behaviors during competition.
  1. Mental Vision
  • Prepare by imagining yourself performing well in competition.
  • Create and use mental images that are detailed, specific, and realistic.
  1. Dealing with Anxiety
  • Accept anxiety as part of the sport.
  • Realize that some degree of anxiety can help you perform well.
  • Know how to reduce anxiety when it becomes overwhelming, without losing intensity.
  1. Dealing with Emotions
  • Accept strong emotions such as excitement, anger, and disappointment as part of the sport experience.
  • Use emotions to improve your performance.
  1. Concentration
  • Learn how to maintain focus and resist distractions, whether they come from the environment or from within.

Focusing exclusively on the task at hand, and visualizing it from start to finish in every possible permutation is the final step for athletic success. These abilities to quiet the noise and manage anxiety have functions well beyond the Olympic arena—whether before a big presentation or a promising first date—so try incorporating them into other areas besides your fitness routine!

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