3 Strategies To Improve Your Mental Fortitude
What if I told you that you were actually stronger than you think? Turns out you are there’s just one small detail holding you back—your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard a conversation along these lines at one point in time: “There’s no way I would ever be able to do that, it’s just not possible.”
With that attitude, you might be right.
Now, don’t mistake what I’m saying, I’m not telling you I can turn you into a world renowned Olympian overnight. But, you might be surprised how much these three simple strategies can improve your physical performance and mental fortitude.
Have you ever noticed how most athletes (think Olympic sports in this case) close their eyes for 10-15 seconds before a big event and take a few deep breaths? I’m sure some of them are just trying to calm their nerves but I’d be willing to bet that many of them are actually practicing some form of visualization.
Research has shown that visualization (i.e. mental rehearsal) of specific tasks before their implementation can drastically improve performance and technique acquisition. Visualization is a fairly simple concept but like most things, it takes a bit of time and practice in order to get reasonably good at.
However, you don’t have to be an Olympian in order to apply this research, just approach each situation with a methodical attention to detail in your setup and execution. Rehearse the situation in your mind multiple times and envision a perfect execution every time.
Believe In Yourself
If you were told there was a 95% chance you’d achieve your current goals within the next 6 months you’d likely be pretty motivated wouldn’t you?
However, if you knew your goal would likely take a few years to reach and more hard work than you initially anticipated, it’d be quite a bit more difficult to find the energy and dedication to stay committed, right?
Well, we know from the research conducted on confidence that perceived mastery of simple tasks leads to greater mastery of more complex tasks over time. Not to mention it essentially helps to determine a person’s long-term success.
Now, building belief within yourself isn’t an easy concept to achieve, however, if you allow your prior successes to build the foundation for future achievements you’ve got a strong foundation. Keep track of your progress from day 1 – take pictures, journal, write down your motivation and goals, and tell others so that you can be reminded of just how far you’ve come.
Listen To Your Cue
Research shows external focus has been shown to result in superior performance compared to an internal focus of attention.
External cues are primarily centered on a trainee’s interaction with their environment, whereas internal cues are heavily based upon the trainee taking note of their positioning in space. To put it neatly, your focus during workout routines can enhance or decrease your performance at the gym.
So, for example in a squat, some coaches might cue a lifter to “push their knees out” when a more efficient cue would be something along the lines of “try to screw your feet into the ground.” The next time you’re lifting; consider where they’re suggesting you focus during the movement. If you can, reverse your mindset and focus on your environment rather than your body, you might be surprised just how much it helps when you think less and lift more.
Strong mind, strong body
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right. However, before you read this article you didn’t know why that statement was true. Well, now you have the tools and the mindset to take control of your goals. Time to get after it!