When I began playing tennis back in the 1980s, a coach told me that the game was 10 percent talent and 90 percent mental toughness. A major part of any sport we play, whether it’s on a team or as an individual is our ability to overcome adversity. We need mental stability to sustain us when we are down and seemingly out.
It is so easy to have a positive outlook when we are winning but it’s during the roughest part of the match or game when we really need to focus on the task at hand – not on anything else. The truth is that it is essential to have a clear mind, free of any mental frustrations or burdens. Here are nine ways to drop mental dead weight so you can clear and focus your mind. Then you can have a successful game, win or lose.
1. DECLUTTER YOUR WORKOUT AND LIVING SPACE
The first step in strengthening your mental attitude is to completely declutter every aspect of your life. Success is built on putting everything in its proper place. I’m typically not a tidy person. The space I use for working and writing gets cluttered quickly. Although I don’t mind it being cluttered for the most part, I feel a tremendous sense of peace and relief when I actually clear the work space and even my living space. It’s almost like my work has new life when I have a clean, clear place to work in.
2. STAY AROUND POSITIVE PEOPLE
If you have close friends or family members who don’t believe in you and what you are doing, you must do your best to avoid them. Stay around like-minded people. Great attitudes rub off. But unfortunately, so do negative ones. Limit the amount of time you spend around any negative influences.
3. STRENGTHEN YOUR WEAKEST LINK
If you play a team sport, it is essential to make everyone on the team feel important, like he or she is a valuable asset to the team. A teammate who feels like he or she is not being supported by the team carries that burden into every game. It leads to that person becoming the weakest link in your team’s chain. Keep all your team members feeling happy and valued, and you will have a successful team.
4. KEEP IN THE MOMENT
In the fast-paced world we live in, we spend a majority of our days multi-tasking. To strengthen your mental alertness, turn off your cell phone and other outside distractions so you can stay totally focused on one task at a time. This may seem uncomfortable at first but it will pay big benefits.
5. VISUALIZE THE JOURNEY AND THE OUTCOME
Take a moment before each game, match or workout to visualize the end result you want. When you do that, when you concentrate your efforts on your preferred outcome, you are bringing those images into actual life.
Make a list of everything you are grateful for and refer to this list often when you are having metal fatigue. In fact, keep a copy of it hanging where you’ll see it on a regular basis, like the refrigerator door or the bathroom mirror..
7. READ AND LISTEN TO POSITIVE AND UPLIFTING STORIES AND MUSIC
Take a few minutes each day to read something that is positive and uplifting. Choose a variety of stories, self-help articles, books and anything else you can get your hands on that inspire you. Music also has a great way of soothing the mind and assisting to keep you centered. Pick some music that helps you get to where you want to go mentally and use it on a regular basis. It can be quiet meditative music or inspiring music that challenges you as an athlete to do your best.
8. REWARD YOURSELF
As you work through this list, reward yourself for every accomplishment. Perhaps get a massage, take a small vacation or just hang out with your friends. Rewarding yourself is a great way of ensuring that you will continue staying positive.
9. MANAGE YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Never walk into any game or match with negative thoughts. If you believe you can’t win or can’t do well, you are doomed from the onset. Repeat positive affirmations any time you have these negative feelings creep into your mind. Always know that you are worthy and capable of beating anyone at anytime!
By Bryan Lee
Bryan Lee is a National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) certified personal trainer, life coach and author who has lost over 130 pounds. Please check with your personal physician before using these health and fitness tips.
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